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COVID vaccine approval grows significantly

Wednesday March 24th 2021

Confidence in COVID-19 vaccination in the UK has grown substantially this year, according to a new survey.

The UK’s success in vaccinating half its population without ill-effects and reducing infection rates has hugely boosted confidence, researchers found.

The COVID-19 survey found that 86% of people who were unsure or said no to a vaccine in December 2020 would now have one or have already had one.

The Virus Watch study is run by University College London, UK. It was launched in April 2020 and includes 46,539 people in England and Wales. Of these participants, around 20,000 responded in December 2020 and in February 2021 to the question “Would you accept a COVID-19 vaccine if offered?”.

In December, 89% of participants responded “yes”, and by February 2021, 59% responded “yes” and 38% had already had it (total 97%).

The figures are released today (24 March). The researchers say that this shift away from vaccine hesitancy was consistent across people from all levels of social deprivation.

However, 25 to 35 year olds were much more likely to refuse a vaccine than over 75 year olds. This is partly due to concerns about safety of the vaccine, and a lower fear of developing severe COVID-19.

Researcher Dr Parth Patel said: “The really good news is the overwhelming majority of people who were reluctant about taking a vaccine just a few months ago have now changed their minds.

"Most people are considering the vaccine carefully and saying ‘yes’ when it's their turn. However, that does not mean race and class disparities in vaccination rates will disappear. We should think twice before putting those differences down to vaccine hesitancy.”

Co-author Professor Rob Aldridge commented: “Our work shows the importance of making repeated offers of the vaccine because so many people have changed their mind in recent months."

The UK yesterday reported 112 new deaths from the virus and 5,379 new cases of infection. The numbers are very similar to a week previously.

Tags: Flu & Viruses | Pharmaceuticals | UK News

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