COVID-19: Britons most likely to take up vaccine offer, while the French remain sceptical

·2-min read

Watch: ‘Britons most likely to take up vaccine offer’

Britons are more likely than any other nationality to take up the offer of a coronavirus vaccine - while the French are the most sceptical.

A global survey conducted in mid-January about vaccinations against COVID-19 found that around 81% of UK respondents said they would get their jabs. In France, just 44% of respondents said the same.

Second most likely were the Danes at 79%, followed by 70% of Dutch people.

Japan, Singapore and Germany showed weaker confidence - although they were still more willing than the French - with 46%, 48% and 54% of participants respectively saying they would get inoculated.

The research, carried out by Imperial College London's Institute of Global Health Innovation (IGHI) and YouGov, is part of a global monitoring project on attitudes toward the vaccines.

It looked at 15 countries, mostly in Europe and did not include the USA or any countries in South America or Africa, and talked to 13,500 respondents from each.

Over time, the study found attitudes toward COVID-19 vaccines have generally improved, with 54% of people overall saying in January they would get vaccinated if they were offered a dose in the next week, up 14% from November.

Despite the hesitancy in France, the number of French respondents who said they would strongly agree to get a COVID jab has doubled between November and January.

However a separate study in December from the Jean Jaures Foundation found that just two out of five people trusted French health authorities for vaccine information, with less than half that number trusting the government.

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The Imperial College researchers also found that confidence in COVID-19 jabs has risen sharply in the UK since being approved - in November 41% of people said they would strongly agree to get vaccinated if offered, compared with 70% by January.

Participants in Australia, Japan, South Korea and Singapore, however, saw willingness decrease between the same time period.

Other findings included a decrease in worry about side effects in nine countries, with fewer than half of all respondents saying they were concerned about potential harm.

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Dr David Nabarro, co-director of IGHI and the World Health Organisation Special Envoy on COVID-19, is now encouraging world leaders to continue educating their citizens on available vaccines, saying they "must act now" to ensure "no one is left behind".

Echoing this sentiment, Melanie Leis, the co-project lead from IGHI, said "openness and transparency are vital" for communication and to inform policy.

She added: "All of our data are freely available and we hope that our ongoing efforts to monitor the situation globally and offer country comparisons will enable better international collaboration, which is essential in the necessary strive toward vaccine equity."