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“Doubters and refuseniks not against vaccination as such”

Most people that say that they will refuse to get vaccinated against COVID-19 and those that have doubts as to whether they will still believe that a vaccine is necessary. That’s according to a survey carried out by the University of Antwerp. The survey also reveals that most of the doubts people have about the vaccine stem from the speed with which it has been developed and fears about eventual long-term side effects. 

At the end of last month researchers from Antwerp University surveyed 1,200 Flemings about their views on coronavirus vaccines. 65% of those surveyed said that they intend to get themselves vaccinated as soon as a safe and effective vaccine is available. 23% said that they were still uncertain and 12% said that they didn’t intend to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

Nevertheless, believe in the effectiveness of the vaccines is hight with 85% of respondents saying that they have from a little to a lot of hope that the vaccines will serve to improve the current situation. 83% of those surveyed said that vaccination is an effective strategy against COVID-19.

An open question gave respondents the opportunity to give the most important reason for their decision to take or refuse the vaccine or to state why they still had doubts. Most of those that are still uncertain about the vaccines stated concerns about the speed with which they have been developed and fears about side effects, particularly in the long term.

The study concludes that "Doubters and refuseniks are not against vaccination as such. In these groups too the majority thinks that a vaccine is necessary. It is just that at the moment concerns outweigh the advantages among doubters and refuseniks or so it appears. We shouldn’t trivialise or ignore these concerns but recognise them and where necessary alleviate them which at the same time stressing the advantages of vaccination.”

Among all the groups surveyed GPs were cited as the most trusted source of information on health issues. The vast majority of respondents (81%) said that they would follow their GP’s or care professional’s advice when it comes to vaccination.

Pharmacists, scientists, researchers into COVID-19, the Federal Pharmaceuticals and Health Products Agency (FAGG) and the Flemish Care and Health Agency are also seen as (very) reliable sources of information. 

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