Trust for vaccines higher in UK than most of Europe, major survey finds

Henry Bodkin
France showed the worst rates of vaccine skepticism - Getty Images Contributor

People in the UK trust vaccines more than European neighbours, with the French the most sceptical in the world, according to new research.

A first-of-its-kind survey of more than 140,000 people in more than 140 countries found 79 per cent of the world's population think vaccines are safe with 92 per cent of parents saying their children have been vaccinated.

The report, conducted by biomedical research charity Wellcome, found there is less certainty about the safety of vaccines in high-income regions, with 72 per cent of people in Northern America and 59 per cent in Western Europe agreeing they are safe.

In the UK, 75 per cent of people agreed vaccines are safe, with per cet disagreeing, while in France a third of people disagreed that vaccines are safe - the highest percentage for any country in the world.

Despite Britain’s relatively good position, the authors said the country is “vulnerable” to an upsurge in vaccine scepticism.

It follows a warning in May that Measles could become endemic in Britain within 30 years following a decline in the number of people taking up the jab.

Charlie Weller, Wellcome's head of vaccines, said: "It is reassuring that almost all parents worldwide are vaccinating their children.

"However, there are pockets of lower confidence in vaccines across the world and we cannot afford to be complacent.

"To ensure society gets the full benefit of vaccines, we need to make sure that people have confidence in both the safety and effectiveness of vaccines and understand more about the complex reasons why this is not always the case."

The study comes amid a growing debate over whether mandatory vaccination should be introduced in the UK for children starting school.