Around one in five people are unsure whether they would get a coronavirus vaccine if it becomes available, according to research.
A poll conducted by the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) suggests that if a vaccine for Covid-19 was on the horizon, 19% of the 5,000 people surveyed either would not get the jab or were not sure if they would.
Among the 81% of the participants who said they would opt for the jab, the main reasons given were to protect themselves and others.
But for the remaining 19%, a variety of different explanations were put forward, such as feeling that they already have immunity from having the virus or wanting other people to have the vaccine before them.
It is concerning indeed that, despite this upheaval, a substantial minority remain unsure about the prospect of a vaccination against Covid-19Shirley Cramer CBE, RSPH
A lack of understanding over whether they would be eligible and social media rumours were also cited as some of the reasons for not wanting to get the vaccine.
According to the RSPH, their findings come amid declining vaccine coverage rates in the UK in recent years and levels of mistrust in the safety of vaccines.
Last year, the World Health Organisation (WHO) listed vaccine hesitancy as one of the top 10 threats to global health.
Shirley Cramer CBE, chief executive of the RSPH, said: “It is concerning indeed that, despite this upheaval, a substantial minority remain unsure about the prospect of a vaccination against Covid-19.”
She added: “It is clear that our only long-term exit strategy from the current situation is a vaccine, and so it’s vital that the stage is set for it to be distributed fairly and comprehensively once that time comes.
“The public should be reassured that vaccines are a safe and exceptionally effective way of fighting infectious diseases like coronavirus, and even in a normal year save two to three million lives across the globe.”