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France poll: 46% would decline Covid vaccination

A survey has shown increasing reticence towards vaccination against Covid-19 in France, even as vaccine trials yield positive results

survey by Ipsos released on November 5 shows that only 54% of people in France would get vaccinated against Covid-19, if a vaccine were available.

Willingness to get vaccinated has dipped by 5% compared with a similar survey from September 2020.

This comes as the prospect of a vaccine becomes ever more realistic. At the beginning of this week laboratories run by Pfizer and BioNTech said they had created a vaccination against Covid-19 that worked with 90% effectiveness and minimal side effects. 

EU leaders have since suggested the vaccine could be available in Europe in the first quarter of 2021

People in France most reticent about vaccination

People in France were the least likely to get vaccinated out of all fifteen countries surveyed, with the average amount of people in favour of vaccination at 73%. 

Other countries included India (87%), China (85%), the UK (79%), Germany (69%) Italy (65%), Spain (64%) and the US (64%), amongst others.

Only 14% of respondents in France said they would definitely get vaccinated, and 60% were against mandatory vaccination against Covid-19, which has been suggested by one senior MEP.

People in France were also found to be less likely to get vaccinated against Covid-19 as soon as vaccinations become available. Only 38% of French people said they would get a vaccination within the first three months of availability, compared with a 52% average.


Fears over validity of trials and lack of trust at play 

The reasons for this reticence among people in France include fears that clinical trials have been rushed (35%), worries over secondary effects from the vaccine (32%), general aversion to vaccination (13%) and doubts that the vaccine would be effective (12%).

Christophe d’Enfert, scientific director of the Institut Pasteur, also believes that reduced trust in authorities may factor into reticence to get vaccinated, telling news source FranceInfo that transparency about the vaccine would be crucial to its success.

He said: “We will not be able to counteract this pandemic if there is not strong support from the population, and transparent communication about the proposed vaccines and their possible risks.”

The Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine has been tested on 43,500 volunteers among whom cases of Covid-19 infection has been reduced by over 90%, according to test results. The vaccine is still in stage 3 of trials, the last stage before it can be put on the market. 

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