One in five Brits think vaccines have harmful effects that the public aren't being told about

A doctor is injecting a vaccine to a baby boy indoor
One in five Britons think vaccines have harmful effects which aren't being disclosed to the public (Picture: Getty)

One in five Britons think vaccines have harmful effects which aren’t being disclosed to the public, a new poll has revealed.

A survey carried out by YouGov put the statement: “Vaccines have harmful effects which are not being fully disclosed to the public” to Brits and asked them to say if it was true or not.

The results revealed that 20% said it was probably or definitely true that vaccinations have harmful effects which are not being fully disclosed, despite publicly available scientific research showing that they’re safe.


One in 20 (5%) of those aged 25 to 44 said it was definitely true, but that figure dropped significantly to just one in 100 among 18 to 24 year olds.

Younger people were twice as likely as older respondents to say the statement was 'definitely false' - two thirds (59%) of 18 to 24-year-olds compared to a third (34%) of those aged 55 and above.

The survey features in the latest episode of Yahoo UK’s podcast, Britain Is a Nation Of..., which looks at the subject of conspiracy theories.

Listen to a discussion of these statistics on Yahoo and YouGov’s podcast, Britain is a Nation of…

Speaking on the podcast, Penny Sarchet, news editor at New Scientist, said: “From psychology experiments we know that, generally speaking, if you say something that’s false and tell someone it’s false, just the mere fact of telling them it will fix it in their brain.

“So it doesn’t matter if someone’s repeatedly heard that it is absolutely false that the MMR vaccine is linked in any way to autism. It doesn’t matter how many times you say it’s false. The fact that someone keeps hearing that will plant in their brain, ‘right, so there might be this thing between MMR and autism.

“So I don’t actually blame people that when it comes to the point where a doctor wants to stick a needle in your child you think, ‘well I should read up on this and I need to find out’. The worrying thing is what they then find on the internet.”

Earlier this month Yahoo News UK revealed that almost three quarters of UK MPs support making the MMR vaccine mandatory.

This survey was made possible by YouGov’s panel of 6 million respondents. Join the trend and share your opinions with the world today.