Thursday 25 March 2021 1:27 pm

Britain most willing nation in the world to get Covid vaccine, survey finds

People in the UK are the most willing of any nation in the world to get vaccinated against coronavirus, according to a new study.

A YouGov poll found that 86 per cent of people in Britain were willing to get a Covid vaccine or had already received one as of 21 March — the highest percentage out of 26 countries surveyed.

Vietnam trailed close behind, with 85 per cent of people showing willingness to receive the coronavirus jab, followed by the United Arab Emirates in third place with 82 per cent and Malaysia in fourth with 81 per cent.

Around three-quarters of people in Italy and Germany said they would take a Covid vaccine or had already done so, while just 49 per cent of French people surveyed expressed their support.

EU row

It comes amid wide scale scepticism of the Astrazeneca vaccine on the continent following suspicions around its efficacy and reports of blood clots among patients.

French President Emmanuel Macron has faced accusations that he helped sow doubt in the Astrazeneca jab after erroneously claiming it was “quasi-ineffective”.

The European Medicines Agency last week ruled the jab was “safe and effective”, and that there were no obvious signs a heightened risk of blood clots.

While take-up of the Astrazeneca vaccine has remained high in the UK despite an ongoing dispute with the bloc, British support for the vaccine has seen a slight dip in recent weeks, according to YouGov.

The polling firm’s previous survey on 9 March suggested that 89 per cent of Brits were behind the nation’s vaccination programme.

The current figure still marks a dramatic increase since 10 November, when just 61 per cent of people in the UK were supportive of the jab, as the wide rollout of both the Pfizer/Biontech and Astrazeneca jabs helps to bring down coronavirus cases and deaths.

The average seven-day coronavirus case rate has remained around the 5,500 mark over the past week, down from a peak of 61,286 on 1 January.

Deaths have also plummeted in recent weeks, with 98 coronavirus-related deaths reported in the past 24 hours — down from a record 1,359 on 19 January.

The Prime Minister said on Tuesday that the UK is “step by step, jab by jab” on the path to “reclaiming our freedoms” over the coming months, as the vaccine rollout continues at pace.

Almost 28.7m people have received their first dose of a Covid jab so far, including all top four priority groups.

Vaccine misinformation

However, the government has insisted it will still make efforts to stamp out the spread of vaccine misinformation that could hamper overall take-up of the jab.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) earlier this month launched a new programme aimed at boosting vaccine support among minority communities in Britain. The campaign, which aims to counter the spread of misleading and false information through social media, is fronted by trusted local community figures such as imams and faith leaders.

It follows concerns from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) of low vaccine uptake amongst ethnic minority communities.

A recent study by Imperial College London showed vaccine confidence varied by age, sex and also by ethnicity, dropping from 92.6 per cent among white patients to just 72.5 per cent among black participants.

The three most common reasons for vaccine hesitancy were scepticism about how well the vaccine works, worries about long-term health effects, and concerns about potential side effects.