Only half of people in the UK would definitely get a coronavirus vaccine, a new study has warned.
Researchers at King's College London and Ipsos Mori found that just 53 percent of people in Britain would be certain or very likely to get a potentially life-saving vaccine once it becomes available. One in six (16 percent) of those surveyed said they would definitely not or would be very unlikely to get the jab.
The study found a link between scepticism of science and refusal to get a vaccine. It was based on interviews with 2,237 UK residents aged between 16 and 75.
Respondents significantly more likely to refuse a vaccine include those who believe face masks are bad for human health (37 percent), that masks don't stop the spread of COVID-19 (34 percent) or that the government is using masks as a form of control (34 percent).
There was also an age divide: 22 percent of young people aged 16 to 24 claimed they would go unvaccinated compared to just 11 percent of those aged 55 to 75.
Other groups who responded negatively to getting a vaccine included people who thought “too much fuss” is being made about the pandemic (36 percent), who do not trust science as a result of the crisis (33 percent) and those who believe the government was too slow to act (27 percent).
Professor Bobby Duffy, director of the Policy Institute at King’s College London, said belief in conspiracy theories was “clearly” influencing people’s decision to refuse a jab. He added: "Vaccines are one of our greatest achievements, and there is a great deal of faith that we’ll eventually develop one for COVID-19 – but more still need to be convinced of how important it could be for ending this crisis."
Scientists behind a vaccine being tested at Oxford University have reported early success, with clinical trials showing it can trigger an immune response in certain patients. The UK government has ordered 90 million doses of this potential vaccine.