Scientists have named the reasons for the change in attitude to vaccinations against coronavirus.
A study conducted in the UK found that most people who initially opposed the COVID-19 vaccine had already been vaccinated against the coronavirus. According to the researchers, the driving force behind the change in the views of the “vaccine dissidents” was the opportunity to travel and see relatives.
The study found that more than half of people in the UK who were strongly opposed to vaccination around the time they started the first dose have now had a shot from the coronavirus, The Guardian reports.
Researchers from the University of Bristol and King’s College London also found that about one in seven of the most persistent skeptics who have not yet been vaccinated have changed their minds and intend to get vaccinated when they are offered one.
Dr. Siobhan McAndrew, senior lecturer in quantitative social sciences at Bristol, said the driving force behind the change in attitudes was often “the specific benefits of vaccination in terms of being able to travel and see family and friends again.”
She added: “Part of the increase in confidence in vaccines is due to social proof: people feel more confident because they watch others take the vaccine with confidence. The first people to be vaccinated were the oldest generation, who had a strong sense of civic responsibility, and they helped establish the norm that you should take the vaccine when it was your turn. This has prompted others to go from saying they are highly likely to take the vaccine to accept it or claiming they will definitely do so.”
The researchers also found that of those who considered themselves “not very” or “not at all inclined” to take the vaccine when asked in November and December last year, 84% of those surveyed have since been vaccinated.
“Some people who were basically positive waited and watched – and their confidence was reinforced by the evidence that the vaccine was safe and effective,” says Dr. Siobhan McAndrew. – Others were hesitant when asked at the beginning of winter. As the vaccine was rolled out, they became more and more convinced that it was being used correctly. For some, it was the invitation that helped make the decision.”
But while the data shows that people are increasingly comfortable with the idea of vaccination, the researchers caution against complacency and point to large differences across racial and religious lines. The study suggests that white people tend to be less likely to get vaccinated than members of ethnic minorities, with the researchers partly blaming some people’s past negative experiences with health care. The researchers did not break down the data so that different ethnic minority groups could be analyzed separately.