Two-thirds of Britons believe the UK has handled the COVID-19 vaccination process better than EU countries

A new survey by Ipsos MORI in partnership with the EU|UK Forum shows that two-thirds (67%) of Britons believe the UK has handled COVID-19 vaccination programmes better than governments of countries in the EU.

The author(s)

  • Kelly Beaver Managing Director, Public Affairs
  • Dylan Spielman Public Affairs
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This increases to 83% of those who voted to leave the EU in 2016, but even 65% of remain voters say the same, aligning with national views. Only 12% of Britons believe the UK has handled the vaccination programmes worse than the EU. Opinion is more equally divided when considering overall responses to the pandemic.

Britons think that the UK government handled the response to COVID-19 overall and vaccination programmes better than EU governments, but handled national lockdowns worse

This increases to 83% of those who voted to leave the EU in 2016, but even 65% of remain voters say the same, aligning with national views. Only 12% of Britons believe the UK has handled the vaccination programmes worse than the EU. Opinion is more equally divided when considering overall responses to the pandemic.

Remain voters think that the EU handled the response to the COVID-19 pandemic overall better than the UK while Leave voters think the UK handled all aspects better

Two-fifths (40%) of Britons believe Brexit has made Britain’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic better, only 14% say it has made it worse. Those who voted to leave the European Union in 2016 are significantly more likely to believe the UK’s exit has had a positive effect on how it has handled the pandemic at 62%, however this is halved among those who voted to remain in 2016 (31%). Despite this, only 1 in 5 (22%) remain voters believe it has made Britain’s response to the pandemic worse.

Britons think that Brexit made Britain's response to COVID-19 better

Almost half (48%) of Britons believe the COVID-19 pandemic and responses by the UK government and those of the EU have moved the UK and EU further apart. A third (33%) say the two have moved a little further apart while 15% believe the gap to be wider.

Half of Britons think that the COVID-19 pandemic and responses by the UK and EU have moved the UK and EU further apart

Only 8% believe the UK and EU have grown closer as a result of the pandemic and their responses to it, only 2% believe they are a lot closer now while 6% say they are a little closer. A third (35%) say it has made no difference to relations between the UK and other countries of Europe.

Kelly Beaver, Managing Director of Public Affairs at Ipsos MORI, says:

There is no denying that at the start of the pandemic we were all venturing into the unknown, the Government included, and it took heavy criticism of its initial actions, most notably its handling of PPE and the tragic death toll. However, our latest polling shows that despite these issues the British public feel that overall the Government have done well compared to its EU counterparts, no doubt a halo effect of the vaccination programme that has, to date, been incredibly successful. 

 

Paul Adamson, Chairman of Forum Europe and the EU|UK Forum says: 

The availability and supply of vaccines have contributed to an already tense relationship between the EU and the UK fuelled by mutual distrust and suspicion. Part of the EU-UK Forum’s role is to help to create a platform for discussion where these kinds of issues can be addressed in a mutually beneficial way.

 

 

Technical notes

Ipsos MORI interviewed a representative sample of 2,385 British adults aged 16+. Interviews were conducted online from 12th to 15th March 2021. Data are weighted to match the profile of the population. All polls are subject to a wide range of potential sources of error.


The author(s)

  • Kelly Beaver Managing Director, Public Affairs
  • Dylan Spielman Public Affairs

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