30th Jul 2021

Three-quarters of EU citizens support vaccines, survey finds

  • 61 percent of Europeans surveyed agreed that Covid-19 vaccines could have long-term side-effects that we do not know of yet (Photo: Arne Müseler)

A new survey published on Thursday (17 June) shows that three-quarters of all Europeans agree vaccines are the only way to end the Covid-19 pandemic.

Some 76 percent of respondents in the Eurobarometer survey, concluded at the end of May, think that benefits of Covid-19 vaccines outweigh their risks, and 72 percent think that the vaccines authorised by the EU's medicine's agency are safe.

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Most people say they get vaccinated because it puts an end to the pandemic and it will protect their relatives and others from the virus.

However, 61 percent of respondents also agree that Covid-19 vaccines could have long-term side-effects not yet known. 82 percent are worried about side-effects when asked to about the possible reasons for not getting vaccinated soon.

Respondents in Cyprus, Portugal and Italy seem to be most worried about side-effects.

Yet 63 percent of surveyed EU citizens agree that it is a civic duty to get vaccinated, according to the survey conducted on behalf of the EU Commission.

37 percent of Europeans said they were already vaccinated, and 32 percent said they are eager to be vaccinated as soon as possible. 79 percent intend to get vaccinated sometime this year.

And 30 percent of Europeans who were surveyed say they would be "more eager" to be vaccinated if they see that more people have been vaccinated, and the vaccines work, without major side-effects.

There are differences among member states and age groups: people under 45 are more hesitant than people above that age.

Among member states, 86 percent of Maltese said they have been vaccinated or wanted to get the shots as soon as possible, while in Bulgaria, only 31 percent have been vaccinated or are eager to get the jabs. 23 percent there said they never wanted to get the vaccines.

In Slovenia, 20 percent said they never want to get vaccinated, in Latvia and Croatia the rate is 18 percent, and in Slovakia it is 17 percent of respondents.

In Latvia, only 31 percent of the respondents say that of the possible reasons to get vaccinated, ending the pandemic plays a "very important" role. The rate is 46 percent in Poland, and 81 percent in Spain and Sweden.

Trust issues

Of the respondents, 57 percent think public authorities are not sufficiently transparent about Covid-19 vaccines. That rate is highest in Slovenia, Romania, Slovakia and Cyprus.

On average, 70 percent of those surveyed think that the EU is playing a key role in ensuring access to Covid-19 vaccines in their country.

Most people in Portugal, Ireland, Cyprus and Malta think that way. In France, in the Czech Republic and in Hungary - where the government also purchased Russian and Chinese vaccines outside the EU vaccine strategy - are the countries where the fewest people (although still above 50 percent) think that the EU played a key role.

47 percent of those surveyed are satisfied with the EU's vaccination strategy and 45 percent are dissatisfied.

National governments tend to have a slightly more negative perception with 46 percent of those surveyed saying they are satisfied with their government's handling of the vaccination strategy and 49 percent are dissatisfied.

When asked who is their most trusted source for reliable information on Covid-19 vaccines, 61 percent of respondents said they are health professionals, doctors, nurses, pharmacists, 44 percent said national health authorities.

Only 20 percent said their most trusted source is the EU, and 19 percent responded that it is their national government.

When asked how the EU handled the vaccination strategy compared with different institutions, respondents in Malta and Portugal tend to be most satisfied, while in France and Germany respondents are the least satisfied with the EU.

According to the survey, 71 percent of Europeans know people who had been ill because of Covid-19. On average nine percent say they have tested positive with the virus.


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