CAPE TOWN – Confidence in taking a Covid-19 vaccine has dropped, with fewer people globally saying they’d get one, the latest World Economic Forum-Ipsos survey revealed.
The survey shows that on average, across 15 countries, 73 percent of adults strongly or somewhat agree with the statement “if a vaccine for Covid-19 were available, I would get it”. 3 months ago, that figure was 77 percent.
At the time, the shortfall in vaccine confidence was significant enough to be seen to compromise the effectiveness of seeing an end to the pandemic.
The survey also shows that aside from the challenges of manufacturing a vaccine and then ensuring its fair distribution, one of the great stumbling blocks is vaccine confidence, itself.
A separate study mapping trends in vaccine confidence across 149 countries between 2015 and 2019, found that scepticism about the safety of vaccines tended to grow alongside political instability and religious extremism. Confidence can be highly variable and shouldn’t be taken for granted.
Experts estimate that at least 70 percent of the population will need to be immune to the virus to stop community spread of Covid-19. Accomplishing this demands that public confidence in a vaccine is especially high and the current shortfall could be enough to limit efficacy.
WHO named public hesitancy towards vaccination as one of the Top 10 Threats to Global Health in 2019, affecting not only public health, but businesses and economies.
While the numbers in this latest study do show that overall, there is more confidence than not in a Covid-19 vaccine, the rising hesitancy is material and highlights that a vaccine won’t work if people don’t take it.
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