Health and Healthcare Systems

More people now plan to get a COVID-19 vaccine than in December 

Pharmacy staff members prepare COVID-19 vaccines

Views are mixed on whether COVID-19 vaccinations should be mandatory, though. Image: REUTERS/Peter Cziborra

Kate Whiting
Senior Writer, Forum Agenda
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  • Public trust in coronavirus vaccines is growing, with more people saying they would get one, according to an Ipsos survey in partnership with the World Economic Forum.
  • People in Brazil and the UK were the most willing to have the vaccination.
  • The survey also shows a lack of consensus on whether vaccines should be mandatory.
  • Vaccine nationalism is a key concern, which could impact on equitable distribution, WHO chief Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told Davos Agenda.

COVID-19 vaccination intent has risen in recent weeks, according to a new Ipsos-World Economic Forum survey.

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The online poll of 16- to 74-year-olds in 15 countries took place between 28-31 January. A similar survey in December shows that attitudes have changed, with interest in getting a vaccine rising significantly in many countries.

Interest in getting a vaccine climbs significantly in most countries.
Since December, Italy and Spain has seen the highest uptick in vaccine intent. Image: Ipsos

More broadly, people in Brazil and the UK were the most willing to have the vaccination (88% and 89% strongly or somewhat agreed), followed by China and Mexico (85%), and Italy (80%).

Italy and Spain also saw the biggest increase in those who strongly agreed they would get the vaccine with a 28% rise since December. More than half of respondents in Russia (58%) said they would not get the vaccine.


How has the Forum navigated the global response to COVID-19?

Concerns about side effects and the speed with which the vaccines had moved through clinical trials were cited as the main reasons for hesitancy among those who said they were not likely to get the vaccine.

Perceptions of risk to health (side effects and speed to market) are top concerns
Two-thirds of respondents in Japan were worried about the side effects. Image: Ipsos

And support for making a vaccine mandatory was mixed.

Mixed views on whether the vaccine should be mandatory.
An outright majority supported making COVID-19 vaccinations mandatory in 9 countries. Image: Ipsos

Timeframe for vaccine

People in Mexico, Brazil and the UK, who agreed that they will get the vaccine, were most likely to say they plan to do so immediately or within one month once it's available to them.

In many countries, majorities seek to get the vaccine within weeks.
The majority of people in many countries would get the vaccine immediately. Image: Ipsos

Overcoming vaccination challenges

The challenges of distributing the vaccine equitably were a key focus for discussion at the World Economic Forum’s recent Davos Agenda week.

Henrietta H. Fore, Executive Director of UNICEF, said timing was a big issue: “We now have a crush of demand in the first of the year, [while] from a manufacturing point of view, we’re going to have supply available in the second half of the year. But it gives us time to plan… The most difficult part is developing countries. Are they ready?”


Vaccine nationalism was also one of the main causes for concern at the event.

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) called on countries to share excess doses to build trust in global collaboration and speed up the COVID-19 recovery.

“If we lose trust in international collaboration through vaccine nationalism, we will all pay the price in terms of a protracted recovery,” he told Davos Agenda.

"We are asking those governments that have already received deliveries of vaccines to vaccinate their health workers and older people, and share excess doses with COVAX so other countries can do the same.”


Towards equitable distribution

COVAX is a joint initiative between the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI); Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance; and the WHO, to ensure equitable global access to COVID-19 vaccines.

It plans to distribute more than 330 million doses to developing nations by July this year, and up to 2 billion doses to less developed countries in 2021 – which would cover more than 20% of the populations of its member nations.

Albert Bourla, CEO of Pfizer, which produced a COVID-19 vaccine alongside BioNTech, told Davos Agenda he felt confident the company could produce 2 billion doses by the end of the year, with not-for-profit doses delivered via COVAX.

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The views expressed in this article are those of the author alone and not the World Economic Forum.

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