Covid-19 vaccination intent has risen in the past few weeks – also in South Africa

New Ipsos-World Economic Forum global survey highlights the increasing demand for Covid-19 vaccines and diverging views on whether vaccination should be mandatory

A new Ipsos survey, conducted in partnership with the World Economic Forum, points to a general uptick in Covid-19 vaccine intent across the world, compared to six weeks ago. The global survey, conducted between 28 to 31 January 2021 interviewing adults in 15 countries on Ipsos’ Global Advisor online platform, also finds:

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

Vaccination intent on the rise

Of all 15 countries surveyed, the United Kingdom currently shows the highest level of vaccination intent. Nine in ten British adults (89%) who say they have not yet been vaccinated against Covid-19 agree that they would get a vaccine if it were available. At the time of the previous survey in December 2020 the comparable figure stood at 77% in the UK. It seems as if the steady countrywide vaccination programme in this country over the last six weeks influenced vaccine intent very positively.

Of all 15 countries surveyed, the United Kingdom currently shows the highest level of vaccination intent.

Vaccine intent in South Africa changed quite a bit since last August – and it would be safe to say that it will continue changing until such a time as there is more certainty about the rollout of a vaccine.

Vaccine intent in South Africa changed quite a bit since last August – and it would be safe to say that it will continue changing until such a time as there is more certainty about the rollout of a vaccine.

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 to December 20, 2020. At that time, many of the countries 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 (by 28 percentage points to 54% who strongly agree in both countries), followed by the UK (by 21 points to 67%), Brazil and Mexico (by 20 points in both countries to 72% and 62%, respectively), France (by 19 points to 31%), China (by 17 points to 44%), and Canada (by 16 points to 55%).
  • The countries showing the smallest gains over the last six weeks in the proportion of the online population who ‘strongly agree’ are Russia (by 3 points to 17%), Australia (5 points to 43%), and South Africa (6 points to 31%).

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 to December 20, 2020. At that time, many of the countries in the study had not yet approved a vaccine.

Strong feelings against being vaccinated were expressed in Russia (32% strongly disagree), South Africa (25%) and France (21%).

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%), USA (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 wanting to take a vaccine

In nearly every one of the 15 countries, 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. In South Africa, about four in every ten (39%) of those who are vaccine hesitant are worried about the possible side effects.
  • Between 14% (in Japan) to 51% (in Brazil) say they worry a vaccine is moving through clinical trials too fast. This concern was also expressed by 33% of vaccine hesitant South Africans.
  • Between 5% in Japan and 18% in China think the risk they will get Covid-19 is too low – and 6% of South Africans who are hesitant to take a vaccine, concur.
  • Between 4% (in South Korea and China) and 12% (in the UK) say they do not think the vaccine will be effective. The efficacy of the vaccine is questioned by 6% of vaccine hesitant South Africans. (This proportion might change after scientists established that the Astra Zeneca vaccine is not very effective against the 501Y.V2 variant in South Africa.)
  • Between 1% in China and 11% in USA are against vaccines in general. 9% of South Africans who are not keen to be vaccinated quoted anti-vaccination opinions as a reason.

•	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. In South Africa, about four in every ten (39%) of those who are vaccine hesitant are worried about the possible side effects.

Support for mandatory COVID vaccination

Views about making COVID-19 vaccination mandatory vary across countries. Among the 15 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 9 countries (Mexico, Brazil, South Korea, Spain, China, Italy, Canada, the UK and Australia);
  • Supported by a plurality in 2 countries (Japan and the USA); and
  • Opposed by an outright majority in 2 countries (Germany and France).
  • Opinions in South Africa are split down the middle, with 47% in favour of making vaccinations mandatory and 50% against.

•	Opinions in South Africa are split down the middle, with 47% in favour of making vaccinations mandatory and 50% against.

 

Technical detail:
  • The survey was conducted by Ipsos on its Global Advisor online platform, January 28-31, 2021, among adults 18-74 years of age in Canada, South Africa, and the United States, and 16-74 in Australia, Brazil, China (mainland), France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, South Korea, Spain, and the United Kingdom.
  • The samples in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Spain, the UK, and the USA can be taken as representative of the general adult population in these countries under the age of 75. The samples in Brazil, China (mainland), Mexico, Russia, and South Africa are more urban, more educated, and/or more affluent than the general population. The survey results for these countries should be viewed as reflecting the views of the more “connected” segment of their populations.
  • Part of the survey was conducted in all 15 countries with a base sample of 1,000+ adults in Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Spain, the UK, and the USA, and of 500+ adults in each of Mexico, Russia, South Africa. The other part was conducted in the same countries except Russia, with a base sample of 1,000+ adults in every country.
  • This document includes comparisons with data from a similar survey conducted on the Ipsos Global Advisor platform, December 17-20, 2020 with approximately 1,000 individuals in each of Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Spain, the UK, and the USA, and approximately 500 individuals in Mexico, Russia, and South Africa.
  • The data is weighted so that each country’s sample composition best reflects the demographic profile of the adult population covered in the study, according to the most recent census data.
  • Where results do not sum to 100 or the ‘difference’ appears to be +/-1 more/less than the actual, this may be due to rounding, multiple responses, or the exclusion of “don't know” or not stated responses.
  • The precision of Ipsos online polls is calculated using a credibility interval with a poll of N=1,000 accurate to +/-3.5 percentage points and of 500 accurate to +/-5.0 percentage points. For more information on Ipsos’ use of credibility intervals, please visit the Ipsos website.
  • The publication of these findings abides by local rules and regulations.
  • Read the World Economic Forum's article.

For more information on this news release, please contact:

Mari Harris
Director and Political Analyst
Mobile: +27 (0)82 557 5058
mari.harris@ipsos.com

Ezethu Nsiki
Service Line Manager: Public Affairs
Mobile: +27 (0)74 617 8023
ezethu.nsiki@ipsos.com

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