January 22, 2021

Softening of public attitude towards COVID-19 vaccines

Covid vaccine

In December Talking Medicines carried out two ‘pulse’ surveys of the UK public to gauge opinion towards COVID-19 vaccines and found that over the month, attitude had softened, with more people intending to take the vaccine once it becomes available to them.

The polling shows that between the start and end of December 2020 the number of people in the UK who said that they planned to take the vaccine once it became available increased from 64.5% to 73.8%.

The same survey, which polled a total of 1,000* people through Facebook’s advert platform, also showed that at the beginning of December 32.9% of people thought that the vaccine should be compulsory but at the end of the month, that number had risen by 10% to 42.9%.

Respondents were also asked who they trusted to give them accurate and truthful information about the vaccine. In the first survey GPs and health professionals came top with 57%. Drug companies were the next most trusted at 10.6%, with the government polling at 7.3%. The results of the second survey showed that medics continued to be most trusted at just under 63%, an increase of 6%. Drug companies showed a slight increase of 1% while trust in government dropped by 1%.

In both surveys at the start and end of December, roughly 70% of people who said they planned to take the vaccine were women. Similarly, around 70% of people who said the vaccine should be compulsory were also female.

Older people (aged 45+) were significantly more likely to feel that the vaccine should be compulsory and they also had a greater trust in health professionals. Polling in this age group for both questions in each survey scored over 90%.

It’s exceptionally interesting to see how opinion is shifting on this vitally important subject. The two ‘pulse’ surveys show that while the vast majority of people told us that they plan on taking the vaccine, as December went on that number increased, to almost two thirds. Interestingly, the number of ‘maybe’ respondents dropped by half. Much of the initial suspicion and hesitancy surrounding vaccination appears to have abated once the vaccination roll-out programme kicked into action.

The lack of trust in government is also very insightful, reinforcing many other research studies, which show that trust in government has fallen significantly in recent years. With trust in the medical profession far outweighing other industries, it’s clear that primary care will have a major influence on public intentions towards vaccination over the coming year.

* 1,000 people were polled in two surveys (Dec 7 to 11 and Dec 22 to 25).