Britain amongst most pro-vaccine nations, worldwide survey reveals

Coronavirus COVID-19 single dose small vials and multi dose in scientist hands concept. Research for new novel corona virus immunization drug.
Britain is amongst the most pro-vaccine nations in the world, a YouGov poll has revealed (Getty)

People in the UK are amongst the most likely in the world to take up a COVID vaccination if offered, a worldwide survey has revealed.

An ongoing tracker created by pollster YouGov has been monitoring international reactions to news of coronavirus vaccines.

With COVID-19 vaccines now being rolled out across the globe, YouGov’s COVID-19 trackers show that people in Thailand and the UK are the most likely to say that they will take the coronavirus vaccine when it becomes available to them, at 83% and 80% respectively.

Other countries where willingness to receive the vaccine is high include Denmark (70%), Mexico (68%), India (67%), and Spain (66%).

Thailand and Britain emerged as the most pro-vaccination countries in a worldwide poll (YouGov)
Thailand and Britain emerged as the most pro-vaccination countries in a worldwide poll (YouGov)

In the US, where the tracker extends back to July, only 47% of people say they will do so or have already done so.

And at the bottom of the table are France and Poland, where just 39% and 28% respectively say they will take the vaccine.

The results also show that willingness to take the COVID-19 vaccine has been improving in many countries in recent weeks. For instance, in Britain it has risen from 61% in mid-November to 80% now, and in Spain it is up from 53% in mid-December to 65% now.

Britain’s vaccination programme began in December and just over one million over-80s in the UK have now received at least their first jab of the COVID-19 vaccine, with slightly less under-80s also getting the injection.

The government has committed to giving about 13 million people in the UK the vaccine by the end of February.

Watch: Friday’s queue for COVID vaccinations at Lichfield Cathedral

There has been no change in other countries, however, particularly the USA, where the current figure of 45% is little different from the 42% recorded there when the question was first asked in July (although it has fluctuated a little over that period).

However, the report authors suggest that despite sizeable minorities in many countries saying they won’t take the vaccine, very few are doing so because of ‘anti-vaxxer’ attitudes.

Distrust of vaccinations among the French is well-documented and the proportion of the population refusing to take the vaccine because they are “opposed to vaccines in general” is highest in France.

Members of the public at Lichfield Cathedral, Staffordshire, to receive the Oxford/AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine. (Photo by Jacob King/PA Images via Getty Images)
Inside Lichfield Cathedral, Staffs., as members of the public receive their COVID-19 vaccine on Friday (Jacob King/PA Images via Getty Images)

However, at 9% it is only a small portion of the overall 48% of French people saying they won’t take the vaccine.

The largest portion of those who say they won’t take the vaccine say it is simply because they are waiting to see if it is safe.

England’s Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty has dismissed anti-vaxxers as having “very weird views” and said it is not worth trying to convince them that the vaccine is safe.

During a meeting of the Commons Science and Technology and Health and Social Care committees in December, Prof Whitty said: “There is a very small group of people who have got very weird views about vaccines.

“In a sense, they're not worth worrying about in public communication terms, because nothing will persuade them that this is the right thing to do, and that's their right as competent adults to make those choices.”

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