New survey shows widespread hesitancy about COVID-19 vaccine

Conference News 20 Oct 2020

On the first day of the 51st Union World Conference on Lung Health the results were released of a new global study on the acceptance of a potential COVID-19 vaccine, demonstrating widespread hesitancy to the vaccine in Europe and the United States.

In the study, published today in Nature Medicine, researchers surveyed more than 13,000 people in 19 countries, and found that while 72 percent said would be very or somewhat likely to take a COVID19 vaccine, 14 percent would refuse and another 14 percent would hesitate.

At a press conference announcing the results, scientists called for urgent action to improve public trust in immunisation.

Jeffrey Lazarus, Head of the Health Systems Research Group at the Barcelona Institute for Global Health in Spain, reported that in most of the countries surveyed in the study, current levels of willingness to accept a COVID-19 vaccine are insufficient to meet the requirements for community immunity.

Lazarus noted that respondents reporting higher levels of trust in information from government sources were more likely to accept a vaccine and take their employer’s advice to do so.

Hear the full results, and join the Special Session ‘SARS-CoV2: The hope for a vaccine’, on Wednesday 21 October, 15:00-16:20 CEST.

Also, at the opening press conference, the World Health Organization Assistant Director-General for Universal Health Coverage/Communicable and Noncommunicable Diseases, Dr Ren Minghui, highlighted the findings from the recent WHO 2020 Global TB Report, saying, “Our joint efforts need to be stronger at this intersection between COVID-19 and lung health. We should all work together to identify opportunities for converting this situation to our benefit that could help advance the scale-up of new tools for TB prevention and care, towards achieving Universal Health Coverage.”

Nurse and three-time TB survivor, Divya Sojan spoke about the necessity of proper prevention for frontline healthcare workers better than most, especially in light of the current pandemic. Speaking during the conference Opening Ceremony, she said, “I know how important it is to talk to each patient with love and care, and to support them and provide information on their treatment. I learned the value of being heard. As nurses we deserve to get leave when we are sick with tuberculosis. We deserve to get vaccinations, periodic check-ups and easy access to treatment.”

Watch the full press conference.

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