Three in four Australians would get COVID-19 vaccination, but more than a third worry that clinical trials are moving too fast

Half support making COVID-19 vaccination mandatory for anyone over the age of 18

Three in four Australians (73%) said they would get the COVID-19 vaccine and more than half (54%) said it should be mandatory for those aged over 18, a new Ipsos survey conducted in partnership with the World Economic Forum in 15 countries has found.

The survey points to a general uptick in COVID-19 vaccine intent across the world, compared to six weeks ago. In Australia there was a five point rise in those who said they would get the vaccine compared to December 2020.

The global survey of adults, on Ipsos’ Global Advisor online platform, also found:

  • Widespread demand for getting vaccinated as soon as possible;
  • A lack of consensus on whether the COVID-19 vaccine should be mandatory across countries; and
  • Concern about the side effects and the speed of clinical trials to be the leading causes of vaccine hesitancy.

Read the World Economic Forum's article.

Key Australian findings

  • Three in four (73%) agree they would get the vaccine if it were available to them, a 5-point increase from when Ipsos asked people between 17-20 December, 2020;
  • More than half (56%) indicated they would get the vaccine within a month of it being available to them;
  • Among those who suggest they are not willing to be vaccinated, the key concerns are that the vaccine is moving through clinical trials too fast (36%) and the side effects (31%);
  • A little over half (54%) support mandatory vaccination for those over 18, with 35% opposing it.

Global Findings

Vaccination intent on the rise

Of all 15 countries surveyed, the United Kingdom shows the highest level of vaccination intent: Nine in 10 British adults (89%) who say they have not been vaccinated against COVID-19 agree they would get a vaccine if it were available.

Among the other countries, intent to take a COVID-19 vaccine is:

  • Very high in Brazil (88%), China (85%), Mexico (85%), Italy (80%), Spain (80%), Canada (79%), and South Korea (78%);
  • Fairly high in Australia (73%), the United States (71%), and Germany (68%);
  • Middling in Japan (64%), South Africa (61%), and France (57%); and,
  • Low in Russia (42%).

The percentage of those who strongly agree they will get vaccinated has increased in every one of the 15 countries since a similar survey was conducted December 17-20, 2020. At the time, many of the countries included in the study had not yet approved a vaccine.

  • Since the last survey, the highest uptick in vaccine intent is seen in Italy and Spain (up by 28 percentage points to 54% who strongly agree in both countries), followed by the UK (up by 21 points to 67%), Brazil and Mexico (up by 20 points in both countries to 72% and 62%, respectively), France (up by 19 points to 31%), China (up by 17 points to 44%), and Canada (up by 16 points to 55%).
  • The countries showing the smallest gains are Russia (up by 3 points to 17%), Australia (up 5 points to 43%), and South Africa (up by 6 points to 31%).

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In 11 of the 15 countries surveyed, most of those who agree that they will get the vaccine say they plan to do so immediately or within one month once it is available to them:

  • Four in five in Mexico (82%), Brazil (79%), and the UK (79%);
  • About two in three in Spain (71%), the US (70%), Germany (68%), Canada (67%), and Italy (66%);
  • Over half in France (59%), Australia (56%), and South Africa (55%); but
  • Fewer than half in China (49%), Japan (39%), Russia (37%), and South Korea (28%).

Reasons for not taking a vaccine

In nearly every country, the two main reasons for COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy are concern about the side effects and the speed of the clinical trials.

  • Between 25% (in Brazil) and 66% (in Japan) of those who say they would not take a COVID-19 vaccine mention being worried about the side effects.
  • Between 14% (in Japan) to 51% (in Brazil) say they worry a vaccine is moving through clinical trials too fast.
  • Between 5% in Japan and 18% in China think the risk they will get COVID-19 is too low.
  • Between 4% (in South Korea and China) and 12% (in the UK) say they don’t think the vaccine will be effective.
  • Between 1% in China and 11% in the US are against vaccines in general.

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Support for mandatory COVID vaccination

Views about making COVID-19 vaccination mandatory vary across countries. Among the 14 countries where Ipsos measured opinion on making COVID-19 vaccination mandatory for anyone over the age of 18, the proposition is:

  • Supported by an outright majority in nine countries (Mexico, Brazil, South Korea, Spain, China, Italy, Canada, the UK, and Australia);
  • Opinion is relatively evenly split in three countries (Japan, the US and South Africa); and
  • Opposed by an outright majority in two countries (Germany and France).

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Ipsos Australia Director, Jessica Elgood, said: “The results from the latest Ipsos Global Advisor survey for the World Economic Forum show that the world is becoming more at ease with the prospect of having a vaccination for COVID-19. The proportion willing to  be vaccinated is increasing. 

“In certain countries – such as the UK, Brazil and Mexico – this is likely to be influenced by the current high caseload.  But intent is also increasing in other countries with few COVID-19 cases, such as Australia, where there is growing appreciation of the need to vaccinate. 

“There are still significant reservations for many people – particularly the speed of vaccine development and concern about side effects. Encouragingly, these are exactly the concerns the Federal Government advertising campaign is targeting, with messaging that the vaccines are safe and effective and meet ‘Australia’s high safety and quality standards’. It will be interesting to see whether the rapid roll-out of the vaccine overseas and soon in Australia allays these concerns among the Australian public.”

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