Many corona vaccine sceptics going for it after all: "A matter of patience"

Many of those who had doubts about getting a corona vaccine at first - either refusing or postponing an invitation - are in fact changing their mind at a later stage. That's according to research carried out by the universities of Gent, Leuven, Brussels and Louvain-la-Neuve. The key word turns out to be patience.

The universities cooperated to compile a so-called "Motivation Barometer". Looking at the group of people who weren't sure whether or not to get vaccinated last April, researchers see that 8 in 10 of them (79 percent) have made a U-turn to accept the jab after all. 

Vaccinologist Pierre Van Damme (UAntwerpen) is happy with the figures: "We see that the number of those who are in doubt, is falling as time passes. It is understandable, a number of people had questions for a while. But there have been awareness and information campaigns since then and this has helped." 

But also the number of those who simply refused a vaccine, is going down. Almost half of those who were still saying 'no' between January and April, have had a jab in the meantime. Others switched from the 'no' category to the 'in doubt' group. 

"Do not put any pressure on them"

Maarten Vansteenkiste, a psychology professor at UGent, says the key word to have people change their mind, is patience. "People find it very important to be able to reach a decision when they are ready. We should give them the right information, allow them a personal conversation with a health worker to answer their questions and then give them the time and the space to make up their mind. These are all crucial elements to convince them." In other words: don't put any pressure on them, because it will go down the wrong way. 

The professor adds that the motivation rate among youngsters under 35 is 'high' to 'very high'. This is good news in the battle against the latest biggest enemy, the more contagious Delta variant of coronavirus which is gaining ground at a fast pace.   

In all, the number of vaccine skeptics in Flanders is very low. Wallonia and Brussels are behind, but the situation in Wallonia is improving. 

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