A large number of young people in the United Kingdom, one of the worst hit countries by the Covid-19 pandemic, are likely to steer clear of the coronavirus vaccine, according to a new study. The research has found that 22% of people under the age of 34 have said they may or may not go in for the vaccine as opposed to 11% of those aged between 55 and 75—who have wanted to avoid the jab.
The author of the study, carried out by the King’s College London (KCL), has cautioned that “conspiracy theories and mistrust of government, authority and science” could potentially pose a hindrance to conquering the Covid-19 infection.
Explaining that the results of the research are “deeply concerning”, the authors have indicated that only about 50% of British people are committed to taking a coronavirus vaccine, as and when it is launched.
The new research has found that people who avoid wearing masks, those who distrust scientists, and those who are of the opinion that “too much fuss is being made about the Covid-19 pandemic” are the ones most likely to refuse to take the vaccine.
“Vaccines are one of our greatest achievements, and there is a great deal of faith that we’ll eventually develop an effective one for Covid-19 – but more people still need to be convinced of how important it could be for ending this crisis,” Professor Bobby Duffy, director of KCL’s Policy Institute said on the results of the new study.
“Misconceptions about vaccines are among our most directly damaging beliefs, and they’re clearly influencing people’s intentions during the coronavirus crisis,” Professor Duffy said.
Globally with nearly 200 countries being hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, scientists believe that at least 70 per cent of the population per country will need to be vaccinated to provide “herd immunity” that is believed will get nations back to normal.
Researchers and scientists working at frantic speed to find a vaccine for the infectious disease have expressed hope that an effective vaccine will be available next year, after clinical trials at Oxford University produced an immune response in volunteers, although it is still unclear how long that will last within the body.
Gideon Skinner, research director at pollsters Ipsos Mori, said slightly more number of Britons appeared prepared to accept a Covid-19 vaccine than one for seasonal flu, but said the results were “still disturbing”.
A total of 26 vaccine candidates are being developed, according to the World Health Organisation, as a process normally taking up to 15 years has been squeezed into a matter of months.
The KCL study found, however, that only 53 per cent of the UK’s population is “certain or very likely” to get a vaccine against the virus. About one in six people (16 per cent) said they would reject it, or are likely to, 11 per cent said they did not know, while the remaining 20 per cent are only fairly likely to go in for a coronavirus vaccine.
The findings were published soon after British Prime Minister Boris Johnson hit out at anti-vaccination conspiracy theorists, describing them as “nuts”.
Among the groups doubtful about getting a vaccine are those who think the government wants people to wear masks to control the public (34%), those doubting scientific experts (33%) and those who do not “follow the rules at all times” (24%).
Among the pessimists, only 4% of people said a vaccine will never arrive – but just 44% think it will be available in a year or less.