Nearly one in three working-age adults (29%) was categorically opposed to vaccination against the Sars-CoV-2 coronavirus in July 2020, reveals a study conducted by a team from the Bordeaux University Hospital (Gironde) and published on Friday. February 5, 2021 in the review The Lancet.
Beyond highlighting the mistrust of the French vis-à-vis vaccination against Covid-19, the study highlights the factors that influence the desire or refusal to be vaccinated. She suggests that communication around the collective benefits of vaccination, especially for social and economic life, has reduced the hesitation of the French towards the anti-Covid vaccine.
The researchers interviewed here a representative sample of the adult French population, made up of 1,942 adults aged 18 to 64, surveyed using an online questionnaire conducted in two parts.
Several scenarios involving various levels of efficacy and adverse effects tested
The first step was to collect general information such as participants’ previous vaccination behavior and their risk of contracting a severe form of Covid-19.
In the second part, the participants chose from uThere is a range of options for scenarios involving multiple hypothetical vaccines. These differed on four characteristics:
- efficiency (50%, 80%, 90% or 100%);
- the risk of serious side effects (1 / 10,000 or 1 / 100,000 people vaccinated);
- the country of the vaccine manufacturer (European Union, United States or China);
- and vaccination site (general practitioner, local pharmacy or mass vaccination center).
The analysis of the responses allowed the researchers to distinguish between people who would accept a vaccination with certain characteristics (we then speak of “reluctance to vaccination”) and those who would systematically refuse the vaccine.
Efficacy and origin of the vaccine: two major criteria
Researchers found that more than two-thirds of those polled (71%) could accept a vaccine based on its characteristics, their decision based largely on its effectiveness and its country of manufacture.
Reluctance to vaccination was lowest (61% acceptance) in a scenario where it wasa vaccine made in the European Union (EU), 90% effective, and had a low risk of serious side effects (1 in 100,000 people vaccinated). The lowest level of acceptance (27%) corresponded to a scenario involving a vaccine of Chinese origin only 50% effective, and with a risk of serious side effects of 1 / 10,000. The authors suggest that the reluctance vaccine based on the country of origin would be due to a development perceived as precipitous and to safety concerns regarding vaccines manufactured outside the EU.
It should be noted that hesitation towards the vaccine and categorical refusal to be vaccinated were more frequent in women, in people with a low level of education and in those who had previously chosen not to receive other recommended vaccinations. The 18-24 and 55-64 age groups were less likely to categorically refuse or hesitate to be vaccinated than those aged 25 to 54.
“Our results suggest that reluctance to vaccinate, along with other factors, including the limited vaccine supply and the emergence of new strains of Covid-19, continue to pose major challenges in bringing the pandemic under control. With evidence indicating that reluctance to receive a Covid-19 vaccine is increasing around the world, studies like ours are important for contribute to the development and deployment of national immunization strategies that the population is likely to support”, Commented Dr Michaël Schwarzinger, first author of the study, responsible for the Methodological support and innovation service in prevention at Bordeaux University Hospital.
Scientists point out that, as the study was conducted in July 2020 when health measures were at their lowest, it is very likely that French mistrust of the Covid-19 vaccine has diminished, and that communication around the benefits socio-economics of vaccination increased the acceptability of the vaccine. Many French people do not seem fundamentally for or against anti-Covid vaccination, but rather hesitant. Behaviors that health authorities would do well to watch closely, the authors conclude.
To find out more about the coronavirus, the editorial staff invites you to discover its more complete and regularly updated articles:
- an article on Covid-19 disease and the evolution of the epidemic
- an article on the different screening tests
- an article on vaccines under development.