To vaccinate, or not to vaccinate? That is the question.
In order to achieve herd immunity against COVID-19, some experts believe that between 70% to 80% of a population must be vaccinated.
But attitudes towards these vaccines are undoubtedly mixed. In fact, it’s estimated that one-third of people globally have some major concerns.
Using survey data from eight different countries, Global Web Index created five archetypes to help illustrate how typical attitudes towards vaccines differ depending on a range of factors, such as age, income, lifestyle, and values.
|Segment||Breakdown||Age Skew||Gender Skew||Income||Vaccine Concerns|
|Vaccine Supporter||66%||18-34||None||High income||Potential side-effects, availability, and logistics of vaccine distribution.|
|Vaccines Hesitant||12%||38-56||Female||Low/Middle income||Potential side-effects specifically due to no long-term testing, cost of vaccine, and more transparency around science required.|
|Vaccine Obligated||11%||16-24||Male||Low income||Potential side-effects, not sure COVID-19 vaccine is necessary to combat the virus.|
|Vaccine Skeptical||11%||45-64||Female||Low income||Potential side-effects, don’t believe vaccines can curtail the pandemic.|
|Anti-vaxxer||1.4% (13% of the Vaccine Skeptical segment)||16-24, 55-64||Male||Low income||Potential side-effects, don’t believe vaccines in general are safe.|
Countries surveyed: United States, Germany, United Kingdom, Brazil, China, India, Japan, and Italy.
Which segment are you most likely to fall under, according to these segments?
[People who say they will get the COVID-19 vaccine.]
Out of all participants surveyed, 66% of them support the idea of getting a COVID-19 vaccine. Within this group, there is a skew towards younger people (aged 18-34) who are likely working professionals earning a high income and living in a city.
Despite their optimism towards COVID-19 vaccines, however, one-third of vaccine supporters say they will wait to get one, due to lingering concerns regarding issues with vaccine distribution and any potential side-effects.
Interestingly, this procrastination mindset has been seen before during the H1N1 (swine flu) pandemic when both members of the general public and healthcare workers showed low levels of vaccine acceptance due to safety concerns.
[People who are not sure if they will get the COVID-19 vaccine.]
The vaccine hesitant group, which is more common among cautious suburban parents, makes up 12% of the total study. They are more likely to be female, and feel anxious about the length of time spent testing vaccines and therefore require more transparency around the science.
With that being said, this group could be easily swayed, as they are more receptive to word-of-mouth and messaging boards to get advice from their peers over any other medium.
[People who will only get the vaccine if it’s necessary for travel, school, work etc.]
The vaccine obligated group makes up 11% of the total, and has a skew towards males aged between 16 and 24 years old.
While this group is also concerned with potential side-effects, their responses suggesting that a vaccine may not be necessary to combat COVID-19 was above average compared to other segments in the study. They also index above average when it comes to viewing themselves as traditionalists.
[People who won’t get the COVID-19 vaccine.]
The vaccine skeptical group makes up another 11% of the total. However, this group is mostly female, who are aged between 45-64 and earn a lower-than-average income. They are less likely to have a college degree, and are more likely to live in a rural area.
Along with the worry of potential side-effects, this group is generally more pessimistic about containing COVID-19 at all. Therefore a small percentage do not believe a vaccine will help tackle the global health crisis.
With notably low trust levels, this group is one of the hardest to reach and potentially persuade. What makes them unique however, is their lack of faith in the scientific process.
[People who will not get the vaccine, because they are against vaccines in general.]
It is important to note that those who choose not to get a COVID-19 vaccine should not be confused with anti-vaxxers.
Anti-vaxxers are a sub-segment of the vaccine skeptical group that makes up 1.4% of the total population. The difference is, anti-vaxxers do not believe in getting any vaccine due to safety concerns, not just not a vaccine for COVID-19.
According to the study, anti-vaxxers tend to fall into one of two age brackets, between 16-24 years or 55-64 years old, and are typically males with lower incomes.
Another Tool in the Arsenal Against COVID-19
The study demonstrates that broad segments of society—regardless of their demographic or views—are at least somewhat concerned about COVID-19 vaccines becoming widely available.
While scientists are not quite sure if the current vaccines on the market can stop infection or transmission of the virus, they are an important part of our global defenses against COVID-19, along with other safety restrictions like wearing masks and keeping a distance.