The U.K. will need more than just a simple communication campaign to ensure people get a potential coronavirus vaccine after research showed that less than a third of the population would definitely seek to be inoculated.
A survey by King’s College London and Ipsos Mori released Sunday showed British people who are skeptical about science and authority were more likely to say they’d refuse a vaccine. While 43% said they’d be very likely or fairly likely to get a vaccine, if one becomes available, 16% said they are unlikely to or definitely won’t and 11% didn’t know.
Professor Bobby Duffy, director of the Policy Institute at King’s College London, said the study revealed that the government would need to conduct a nuanced campaign to tackle misinformation. Of the 2,237 people surveyed, vaccine skepticism was higher in people who said wearing face masks is bad for people’s health and that there’s too much fuss being made about the pandemic, which has killed more than 46,000 people in the U.K.
Those who rely on WhatsApp for a great deal of their Covid-19 information are also unlikely to get a potential coronavirus vaccine. People between the ages of 55 and 75 were twice as likely to say they’d get a vaccine than those between 16 and 34.
“The study shows how uncertain large proportions of the population are about vaccines, and how much this is tied up with where they get their information, but also their broader underlying beliefs and values,” Duffy said in an email. “If and hopefully when a vaccine becomes available, this means a simple communications approach is not going to be enough on its own –- we’ll need tailored messages for different groups, and to engage social media platforms to contain and remove blatant conspiracy theories.”
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