Coronavirus: Only half of Britons say they would get a vaccine, poll reveals

Just over half of the UK would definitely get a coronavirus vaccine, with "damaging misperceptions" affecting potential uptake, a poll has revealed.

Only 53% of Britons would be certain or very likely to get vaccinated against COVID-19, researchers at King's College London (KCL) and Ipsos Mori found.

One in six (16%) said they would definitely not get a vaccine or it would be very unlikely, the poll of 2,237 people between 16 and 75 showed.

The study found that people were more likely to reject the vaccine because of their attitudes and beliefs about science and authority, rather than reasons related to coronavirus itself.

Young people were twice as likely not to want a vaccine, with 22% of 16 to 34-year-olds saying they would not have one - compared to 11% of 55 to 75-year-olds.

People who believe face masks are bad for people's health and do not reduce the spread of the virus were among those who disagreed with a vaccine.

Of those who said they would not get one, 34% believe the government is trying to control the population by getting them to wear masks and 36% think "too much fuss" is being made of the pandemic.

People who are comfortable with lockdown restrictions easing and who have not found the outbreak stressful were also more likely to say no to a vaccine.

Other groups who would not want immunisation included those who say it is important they make their own decisions and "do not follow the rules".

Where people get information about the virus was also a factor, with 27% of people who get their news from WhatsApp claiming they would be unlikely to get a vaccine.

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Professor Bobby Duffy, director of the policy institute at KCL, said: "Misperceptions about vaccines are among our most directly damaging beliefs and they're clearly influencing people's intentions during the coronavirus crisis.

"While one in six in the UK say they are unlikely to, or definitely won't, get a potential vaccine, this rises to around a third or more among certain groups, with a clear link to belief in conspiracy theories and mistrust of government, authority and science.

"Vaccines are one of our greatest achievements and there is a great deal of faith that we'll eventually develop one for COVID-19 - but more still need to be convinced of how important it could be for ending this crisis."