Majority of Croatians sceptical of coronavirus vaccine

Survey results come as experts warn current shortfall in vaccine confidence could be enough to compromise effectiveness of ending pandemic.

Coronavirus vaccine
In the survey of 523 Croatians, 57 percent say they definitely will not or probably will not vaccinate against the coronavirus [Dado Ruvic/Reuters]

A majority of Croatians do not plan on taking a vaccine to immunise against the coronavirus once it becomes available, a recent survey has found.

According to the poll, which was conducted by the Valicon market research company and published by Croatian news agency RTL last week, 43 percent of respondents said they would definitely or would probably vaccinate, mostly citing responsibility towards others and that a higher rate of vaccination will limit infections as reasons.

But 57 percent said they definitely would not or probably would not vaccinate, citing mistrust of the vaccine until it was proven to be safe, while a large number of respondents also said they feared there could be side effects.

Others said they would not vaccinate because they believed they were not at risk, while a quarter of respondents said the virus constantly mutates and that vaccinating would not protect them.

The survey gathering opinions from 523 people in Croatia comes as a global scientific race is under way to produce an effective vaccine for the coronavirus.

Last week, US drugmaker Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech released final late-stage trial data showing their vaccine was 95 percent effective, the highest efficacy rate so far.

Vaccine confidence compromising effectiveness

The results of Croatia’s poll reflect a wider trend across the world.

A reluctance to receive a coronavirus vaccine seems to be mounting, according to a report this month by The World Economic Forum (WEF) which found that fewer people say they would take a COVID-19 vaccine now than three months ago.

Its Ipsos survey on vaccine confidence shows that on average across 15 countries, intention to vaccinate has decreased by four percentage points since August.

The survey shows that 73 percent of adults strongly or somewhat agreed that “if a vaccine for COVID-19 were available, I would get it”. Three months ago the figure was at 77 percent.

Vaccination intent has declined in 10 of the countries – most of all in China, Australia, Spain and Brazil.

More than four in five in India, mainland China, South Korea and Brazil, however, say they would get a vaccine if available – compared with just over half in France and about two thirds in the United States, Spain, Italy, South Africa, Japan and Germany.

Meanwhile, 34 per cent of those reluctant to get a vaccine globally said they were concerned about side effects while another 33 percent said clinical trials were moving too fast.

Experts estimate that at least 70 percent of the population will need to be immune to the coronavirus in order to stop the community spread of a disease that has so far killed almost 1.4 million people worldwide.

But in order to do this, public confidence in a vaccine needs to be especially high and the current shortfall could be enough to limit efficacy, the WEF said.

Source: Al Jazeera