Despite the massive death toll and disruption the UK has experienced from the coronavirus pandemic, nearly a fifth of people (19%) have said they will either not get or are not sure about getting vaccinated against Covid-19 when and if a vaccine finally does becomes available.
A poll by the Royal Society for Public Health UK (RSPH) found that 4% of people were adamant they would not get the jab when it was available while 15% were “not sure” if they would or not.
The finding was set against a context of declining vaccine coverage rates in the UK in recent years and worrying levels of mistrust in the safety of vaccines globally, the society pointed out.
Among the 81% of respondents who said they would get the vaccine, the main reason given was, perhaps unsurprisingly, to protect themselves and others.
RSPH chief executive Shirley Cramer said: “The coronavirus outbreak is teaching us all what it’s like to live in a world without vaccines. It has had an undeniable and extraordinary impact on everyone’s lives, whether felt in terms of loved ones lost before their time, friends and families in grief, or the daily strains of living under lockdown.
“It is concerning indeed that, despite this upheaval, a substantial minority remain unsure about the prospect of a vaccination against Covid-19.
“It is clear that our only long-term exit strategy from the current situation is a vaccine, and so it’s vital that the stage is set for it to be distributed fairly and comprehensively once that time comes. The public should be reassured that vaccines are a safe and exceptionally effective way of fighting infectious diseases like coronavirus, and even in a normal year, save two to three million lives across the globe,” she added.