Who is hesitant to take the Covid vaccine and why?

8 December 2020, 15:56

By Fiona Jones

Who is concerned about taking the Covid vaccine and why? Senior researcher Chris Curtis tells LBC his findings, as the first doses are rolled out today.

The UK is taking a "huge step forward" in its fight against Covid-19 as the country's vaccination programme gets under way, Boris Johnson has said.

Jabs will be administered at dozens of hospital hubs across the country from Tuesday - dubbed "V-Day" by Health Secretary Matt Hancock.

However, when studying the British public's reaction to this news, the results were not wholly positive.

Two in ten people are "anti-vaxxers" - this means that despite the Covid vaccine being approved by the regulators, they will still believe it is "unlikely to be safe," Chris told LBC.

Three in ten people may not have those specific concerns but are generally more uneasy about taking the vaccine, such its potential side effects.

Five in ten people are much more comfortable about taking the vaccine, he found.

Young men are most likely to be anti-vaxxers, Chris Curtis found
Young men are most likely to be anti-vaxxers, Chris Curtis found. Picture: Opinium

Chris found a significant age difference between the more wary and willing attitudes, with younger people being far more cynical about the jab.

Shelagh remarked that she was not remotely surprised that younger people are more hesitant: "People who are older the safety of vaccines...young people have grown up with it just being the backdrop."

"The reason I was surprised is because this is a really rare occasion in polling when you have young people who are taking the more anti-Government view [because they]...generally take the more pro-science position," Chris said, using climate change as an example.

Shelagh asked why there is a gender divide and it seems to be young men that are the most sceptical about the vaccine.

"Women are more likely to fall into that middle category; they're not necessarily full anti-vaccine but they're more uncomfortable, whereas young men are more likely to fall into that hardline anti-vaxxer category," Chris said, with around three in ten of young men under the age of 40 falling into this category.

For the middle, quite hesitant group, he said, there is a worry that they will be dissuaded from having the vaccine "if we start to have some bad news stories crop up about potential side effects."

"As long as that doesn't end up happening, and the Government continues to push the message that they're pushing, they will reach the levels of vaccination that they want," he said.

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