It appears that about 25% of the people in the world do not intend to be vaccinated when a COVID-19 vaccine becomes available. Just under half of people from 27 countries think there will be a vaccine this year.

A new poll by market research firm Ipsos shows that there are large differences between countries when it comes to the willingness of people to get vaccinated against the virus. Many people see a vaccine as a way to return to a life as normal as possible. The World Health Organization (WHO) is tracking more than 170 vaccine candidates, nine of which are in advanced testing. Normally it takes years to develop a vaccine, but scientists hope to reduce this to twelve to eighteen months in connection with the corona pandemic.

The effectiveness of a vaccine stands or falls with people’s willingness to be vaccinated. And it is not always the same size everywhere, according to a study by Ipsos, commissioned by the World Economic Forum. Of all the countries surveyed, China is the most positive about a vaccine: 97% of those questioned say they will be vaccinated if a vaccine becomes available. Scepticism is very high in Russia. Almost 50% of the Russians do not want a vaccine. Russia already approved a vaccine candidate for use in certain patients last month before the clinical trial phase was completed. Scientists in other countries warn that this could lead to worldwide mistrust of vaccines if problems arise.

Of all the countries surveyed, an average of 74% of people say they want to be vaccinated. In other Western countries such as France, the US, Germany, Italy, France and Belgium, this number is lower. The fear of side effects is the main reason for people not to get vaccinated. The second reason is the belief that a vaccine will not be effective. People also say that they do not get vaccinated, because they do not belong to the risk group.

A lack of confidence in the effectiveness of a vaccine could have a major impact on the fight against the pandemic. “The group of 26% of people who refuse to be vaccinated is large enough to undermine the effectiveness of a corona vaccine for the population as a whole,” Arnaud Bernaert, head of health care at the World Economic Forum, said in a press release.

Bernaert advocates a publicity offensive to dispel the mistrust. “It is therefore vital that governments and industry work together to gain confidence and ensure there is enough production capacity to facilitate the global Covid-19 vaccination program.”

Worldwide, 59% of the people think that a vaccine will not become available in the next four months. China is the big exception: 87% of the people think there will still be a vaccine in 2020. There is also a lot of optimism in Saudi Arabia (75%) and India (74%).

In the United States, just a third of those surveyed think a vaccine will be available before the end of the year. President Donald Trump last month expressed the expectation that there will be a vaccine around the early November elections. Health experts warn against hasty steps and also point out that a vaccine will likely be limited in the first instance.

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By Omar