May: Vaccine hesitation | News and features
A study that explored the attitudes of vaccine-hesitant adults in the UK towards taking up the COVID-19 vaccine found that participants were hesitant rather than opposed to the vaccine. They had questions about their need, as well as the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine. Concerns have been heightened by a lack of trust in government and a poor understanding of science, the University of Bristol-led study found.
Researchers interviewed 35 people aged 18 to 29 who had not been vaccinated and 35 people aged 30 to 49 who had not received the second dose of the vaccine after 12 weeks, to understand what the barriers were to vaccination and what facilitated adoption. .
Although hesitant to receive a first or second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, the majority of participants did not consider themselves anti-vaccine and were generally able to recognize the possible benefits of being vaccinated for themselves and their entourage.
Young people did not see themselves as being at risk of getting sick from COVID-19, did not believe vaccination was effective in preventing transmission, and did not believe sufficient research had been done regarding possible long-term side effects.
Safety concerns were frequently mentioned by participants who had not received a first or second dose of vaccine, with many describing a range of side effects that they or their friends and family had experienced, or experienced they had been exposed by the media.
A small number of participants reported not being able to book or attend an appointment for a first or second dose with the ease that would be required.
Financial incentives and vaccine passes aimed at encouraging uptake were mostly seen as “incorrect”, with participants describing them as coercion, blackmail or bribery (financial incentives) or forcing people to be vaccinated against their will (vaccine pass). Both were deemed likely to increase public mistrust.
Dr Sarah Denford, researcher in the NIHR Health Protection Research Unit in Behavioral Sciences and Evaluation at the University of Bristol and lead author of the study, said: “What we found, c is that, overall, participants were not opposed to taking the COVID-19 vaccine but had a number of concerns, which can be seen as barriers to uptake. people we spoke to were actively engaged in weighing the relative risks and benefits It was concerns about safety, efficacy, and trust in government and science that acted as barriers and contributed to their hesitation.
“To promote uptake, public health campaigns should focus on providing information from trusted sources that explains the benefits of vaccination and more effectively addresses safety issues. When people’s motivation levels to getting vaccinated are low, appointments need to be easily accessible.”
Despite initial hesitation from some groups, more than 53 million people in the UK (over 92% of the population) have received the COVID-19 vaccine since the rollout began in December 2020. Of these, more than 39 million people (over 68 percent of the population) have received at least three doses. Reports of serious side effects are extremely rare, and vaccination is considered the most effective way to reduce death and serious illness from COVID-19. (Source: UK Health Security Agency)
“Exploring Attitudes Regarding COVID‑19 Vaccine Uptake Among Vaccine Hesitant Adults in the UK: A Qualitative Analysis” by Sarah Denford, Fiona Mowbray, Lauren Towler, Helena Wehling, Gemma Lasseter, Richard Amlot, Isabel Oliver , Lucy Yardley and Matthew Hickman BMC Infectious Diseases [open access]
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About the NIHR Health Protection Research Unit [HPRU] in Behavioral Science and Assessment
The NIHR HPRU in Behavioral Science and Evaluation at the University of Bristol is one of 14 HPRUs across England, part of a £58.7 million investment by the NIHR to protect the health of nation. The NIHR HPRU in Behavioral Science and Evaluation is a partnership between the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) and the University of Bristol, in collaboration with the University of Cambridge MRC Biostatistics Research Unit and the University of the west of England. Each NIHR HPRU undertakes high quality research which is used by UKHSA to protect the public against current and emerging public health threats. We are a multidisciplinary team undertaking applied research on the development and evaluation of interventions to protect public health. Follow us on twitter @HPRU_BSE