Not everyone was immediately excited about the COVID-19 vaccines. Some people are not feeling OK about them being developed so quickly. Others listen to conspiracy theories. However, scientists at UCL have found that a lot of people who were unsure about the vaccines before would now take the shot and get vaccinated.
People are always afraid of the unknown. Vaccines did seem scary at first, but now many people know someone who got vaccinated and is feeling fine. Back in last December scientists asked 20,792 adult participants a simple question – “Would you accept a COVID-19 vaccine if offered?”. Now they asked the same question to 20,284 respondents. Results show that over 4 in 5 people who were hesitant would now take Covid-19 vaccine. But the numbers were never particularly discouraging.
Even back in December 2020 89% of participants responded “Yes” and only 2 % were sure that they would not get vaccinated. Meanwhile 9% said they were “Unsure”. When scientists asked the same question in February they had to include another possible answer – “Already had a COVID-19 vaccine”. This survey was conducted in the UK (specifically, England and Wales) and this country is doing very well in its vaccination programme. So now 38% participants said that they’ve already been vaccinated and 59% responded with a simple “Yes”. 1 % was still unsure and 1 % didn’t want vaccines. These numbers show that people are less hesitant now about getting the shots. Most people who were unsure before would now get vaccinated or already had the vaccine shots administered.
Scientists observed this shift across all socioeconomic strata. Interestingly, scientists found that older people were more ready to accept the vaccine – it was younger people of the age 25-35 that were refusing to get vaccinated. Older people voiced their worries about the safety of vaccines less than younger ones. Some people were not sure about the effectiveness and simply thought they didn’t need the shots.
Dr Parth Patel, lead author of the paper, said: “The really good news is the overwhelming majority of people who were reluctant about taking a vaccine just a few months ago have now changed their minds. Most people are considering the vaccine carefully and saying ‘yes’ when it’s their turn.”
Of course, some people remain hesitant. A lot of people will not get vaccinated and that is mostly ok. However, governments should work on information campaigns to make sure that people understand what they are refusing. Blind fear may scare people away from a product that they otherwise wouldn’t mind if they had more information.