A report published in the Lancet suggests there are signs that public trust in vaccine safety is increasing in the UK.
The study, led by the Vaccine Confidence Project at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, found that, in the UK, confidence in vaccine safety rose from 47 per cent in May 2018 to 52 per cent in November 2019.
The proportion of people who strongly agreed that vaccines are important rose only slightly from 57.33 per cent in November 2015 to 59.27 per cent in December 2019. However, confidence in the effectiveness of vaccine increased from 46.12 per cent to 54.46 per cent over the same time period.
The estimates are drawn from a large-scale retrospective temporal modelling study that has mapped global trends in vaccine confidence and investigated barriers to vaccine uptake.
The study analysed data from 290 nationally representative surveys conducted between September 2015 and December 2019, combining previously published data from nearly 250,000 survey responses with 50,000 additional interviews from 2019. It also modelled the relationship between vaccine uptake in each country and demographics (i.e. age, sex, religious beliefs), socioeconomic factors (e.g. income, education) and source of trust (e.g. family, friends, health professionals).
The analyses revealed that confidence in vaccine safety is increasing in several European countries, including Finland, France, Italy, Ireland and the UK. In France, where confidence in vaccines has been persistently low, there has been a marked rise in confidence, with 22 per cent strongly agreeing that vaccines are safe in November 2018 to 30 per cent in December 2019.
Commenting on the findings, co-lead author Clarissa Simas from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine said: “The public seem to generally understand the value of vaccines, but the scientific and public health community needs to do much better at building public trust in the safety of vaccination, particularly with the hope of a COVID-19 vaccine.”