LONDON (Reuters) – Most people would get a COVID-19 vaccine if their government or employer recommended it, results of a global poll showed on Tuesday, amid growing concerns about public distrust of the shots being developed at speed to end the pandemic.
Some 71.5% of participants said they would be very or somewhat likely to take a COVID-19 vaccine and 61.4% reported they would accept their employer’s recommendation to do so, according to the survey in June of more than 13,000 people in 19 countries.
The poll was overseen by the Vaccine Confidence Project (VCP), a global surveillance programme on vaccine trust funded by the European Commission and pharmaceutical companies among others, as well as Business Partners to CONVINCE, a U.S./British initiative that is partly government funded.
All respondents, regardless of nationality, said they would be less likely to accept a COVID-19 vaccine if it were mandated by employers.
There were regional differences in responses though, highlighting the polarisation in attitudes on the topic.
Almost 90% of participants in China said they accepted a vaccine, but the rate in Russia was less than 55%. In France, the positive response rate 58.89%, compared with 75.4% in the United States and 71.48% in Britain.
At least 60-70% of the population would need to have immunity to break the chain of transmission, according to the World Health Organization.
Respondents were aged 18 years or older from 19 countries from among the top 35 countries affected by the pandemic in terms of cases per million population.
The results will likely stir the debate about how to overcome public safety concerns, particularly in Western countries, about the frenetic speed of work to develop vaccines, potentially hampering efforts to control the pandemic and revive the global recovery.
There are about 200 COVID-19 vaccine candidates in development globally, including more than 40 in human clinical trials to test for safety and effectiveness. Many are being squeezed into a matter of months for a process that would typically take 10 years or longer.
Scott Ratzan, co-leader of Business Partners to CONVINCE and lecturer at CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy, said the data demonstrated diminished public trust.
“It will be tragic if we develop safe and effective vaccines and people refuse to take them,” he said in an email.
“We need to develop a robust and sustained effort to address vaccine hesitancy and rebuild public confidence in the personal, family, and community benefits of immunisations.”
Reporting a willingness to get vaccinated might not be necessarily a good predictor of acceptance, as vaccine decisions can change over time.
Also the poll took place before Russia started the mass inoculation of its population with its Sputnik V shot before full studies had been completed and AstraZeneca
had to pause its late-stage study in September due to a participant’s illness.
Last month, nine leading U.S. and European vaccine developers issued a pledge to uphold scientific standards and testing rigour.
Last week, Facebook Inc
said it would start banning
LONDON (Reuters) – Britain needs to impose a three-week period of national lockdown restrictions immediately to stop cases of COVID-19 spiralling, government scientific adviser Jeremy Farrar said, adding that current regional measures would not be effective.
“The current tiered restrictions will not bring the transmission rates down sufficiently or prevent the continued spread of the virus,” he said.
“A three-week period of nationally increased restrictions, with the right levels of financial support, will allow us to reset before winter, stop transmission spiralling, protect and prepare health services, give time to get the test-trace-isolate systems fully functional, and save lives,” he said.
Farrar, who is director of the Wellcome Trust and a member of the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies, said the response needed to be immediate because putting it off would only worsen and lengthen the crisis.
He told Sky News that the best time to have locked down was two to three weeks ago, but it wasn’t too late now.
Senior minister Michael Gove, however, said a two- or three- week national lockdown – named a “circuit breaker” by some – was not being considered.
“The spread and the nature of the disease does not merit that approach at the moment,” he told Sky News on Sunday.
Gove did concede that there were problems with the level of compliance with the rules already in place for those who tested positive for COVID-19.
He said the level of government support available for those who were required to self-isolate was kept under constant review.
(Reporting by Paul Sandle; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)