COVID-19 vaccination intent is decreasing globally

Most adults across 15 countries don’t expect a vaccine to be available any sooner than mid-2021; only half would get vaccinated within three months of its availability.

The author(s)

  • Nicolas Boyon Public Affairs, US
Get in touch

In a new Ipsos survey of more than 18,000 adults from 15 countries conducted in partnership with the World Economic Forum, 73% say they would get a vaccine for COVID-19 if it were available. This is four percentage points less than three months earlier, pointing to a drop in intentions to get vaccinated when possible.

The online survey, conducted October 8-13, finds that 55% think the first vaccine will be available on the market for general use no sooner than the third quarter of 2021. Globally, 52% say they would become vaccinated within three months after the COVID-19 becomes available to all. Concerns about side effects and concerns that vaccines are moving through clinical trials too fast are each cited by one-third of those who say they would not get a vaccine when it is available. The results are reported in the World Economic Forum’s Agenda.

Intentions to get vaccinated against COVID-19

Averaging the results for all 15 countries surveyed, 73% agree that, “if a vaccine for COVID-19 were available, I would get it” – 33%, strongly agree and 40% somewhat agree. Overall, 27% disagree (17% somewhat disagree and 10% strongly disagree).

  • Three months earlier, 77% of adults in the same countries agreed (four points more than in October), including 40% who strongly agreed (seven points more than in October).
  • COVID-19 vaccination intent exceeds the 15-country average in India (87%), China (85%), South Korea (83%), and Brazil (81%), Australia (79%), the United Kingdom (79%), Mexico (78%), and Canada (76%).
  • In contrast, it is expressed by just over one-half of adults in France (54%) and about two-thirds in the United States (64%), Spain (64%), Italy (65%), South Africa (68%), Japan (69%), and Germany (69%).
  • Since August, intentions to get vaccinated have dropped in 10 of 15 countries, most of all China (down 12 points), Australia (down 9), Spain (down 8), and Brazil (down 7).

Expected time before a COVID-19 vaccine is available

Across all 27 countries, 55% do not expect the first available vaccine to be available before the middle of next year at best: 16% say it will be in “nine months from now”, 21% “in 12 months from now”, and 18% “18 months from now or more”.

  • Only 16% of all adults say they expect the first vaccine to be available on the market for general use by the end of 2020: 4% “a month from now and 12% “within two or three months”). Another 29% say “four to six months from now”.
  • Optimism is highest in China, India, Brazil, and the U.S. – in each of these countries, at least one in four adults expect a vaccine to be available by the end of the year and at least half by April 2021.
  • The most pessimistic countries are France, Spain, and Japan, where less than one in ten think a vaccine will be available within two or three months and less than one-third by April.

Wait time before getting a COVID-19 vaccine after it is available

Globally, half of the adults surveyed (52%) say they would become vaccinated within less than three months after the COVID-19 vaccine becomes available to all: 22% “immediately”, 14% “in less than one month”, and 16% in “one month to less than three months”.

  • Another 11% would do it in “three months to less than six months” and 10% in “six months to less than a year”, bringing the total of those saying they would get vaccinated within less than a year to 72%, a similar percentage as those agreeing they would get a vaccine if available.
  • Two-thirds of those surveyed in Mexico (71%), Brazil (68%), and China (68%) say they’d get vaccinated within less than three months, compared to only about four in ten in France (38%), Spain (38%), the U.S. (40%), South Africa (42%), and Japan (43%).

Reasons for not taking a vaccine

In nearly equal proportions, those who do not intend to take a vaccine for COVID-19 say that they are worried about the side effects (34% globally) and that they are worried that a vaccine is moving through clinical trials too fast (33%). Fewer say they don’t think the vaccine will be effective (10%), they are against vaccines in general (10%), and that the risk they’ll get COVID-19 is too low (8%).

  • Concern about side effects is highest in Japan (62%) and China (46%).
  • Worry that the clinical trials are rushed is highest in Brazil and Spain (48% in both).
  • General opposition to vaccines in general among those who won’t get one is highest in South Africa (21%) and India (19%).
  • Feeling that the risk of contracting COVID-19 is low is most prevalent in China (20%) and Australia (19%).
The survey was conducted by Ipsos on its Global Advisor online platform, October 8-13, 2020, with a sample of 18,526 adults aged 18-74 in the United States, Canada, and South Africa, and 16-74 in Australia, Brazil, China (mainland), France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, South Korea, Spain, and the United Kingdom.

The author(s)

  • Nicolas Boyon Public Affairs, US

Society