Attempts to vaccinate the population against Covid-19 could be put in jeopardy – because of the widespread presence of anti-vaccination ideas.
There was consternation recently following the publication of a study which said that only half of the population of the UK would definitely accept the vaccination when – or if – it becomes available.
Vaccination is seen as possibly the only way for society to get back to pre-Covid ways of living – but progress could be hampered by the widespread and stubborn belief in anti-scientific ideas, expressed mainly through social media by advocates of the so-called anti-vax movement.
The King’s College London and Ipsos Mori research showed that only 53% of a test group they would be certain or very likely to allow themselves to be given a vaccine against the disease if one becomes available.
Opposition to vaccination was high among those who expressed anti-scientific feelings, believed conspiracy theories, downplayed the severity of the Covid pandemic, refused to take steps like wearing face masks and who got their information from social media.
It was also more prevalent among younger age groups.
The findings caused consternation among scientists as a low voluntary uptake of a vaccination would have a huge negative impact on attempts to end the pandemic. Vaccine scepticism has also had impacts in other areas – for example in the growth of measles.
Prof Bobby Duffy, director of King’s College London’s Policy Institute, said: “Misperceptions about vaccines are among our most directly damaging beliefs, and they’re clearly influencing people’s intentions during the coronavirus crisis.”
This is why we are asking: should vaccinations be compulsory?
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Should vaccinations be compulsory?