International study: How many people will take the COVID vaccine?

Matthew SmithHead of Data Journalism
January 15, 2021, 12:00 PM GMT+0

Thai people, Britons and Danes are the most willing to take the vaccine

With COVID-19 vaccines now being rolled out across the world, YouGov’s COVID-19 trackers show that people in Thailand and the UK are the most likely to say that they will take the coronavirus vaccine when it becomes available to them, at 83 and 80% respectively.

Other countries where willingness to take the drug is high include Denmark (70%), Mexico (68%), India (67%), and Spain (66%).

In the US, where the tracker extends back to July, only 47% of people say they will do so or have already done so.

At the bottom of the table are France and Poland, where just 39% and 28% respectively say they will take the vaccine.

Distrust of vaccinations among the French is well-documented, and stretches back to before the coronavirus outbreak.

The results also show that willingness to take the COVID-19 vaccine has been improving in many countries in recent weeks. For instance, in Britain it has risen from 61% in mid-November to 80% now, and in Spain it is up from 53% in mid-December to 65% now.

There has been no change in other countries, however, particularly the USA, where the current figure of 45% is little different from the 42% we recorded there when the question was first asked in July (although it has fluctuated a little over that period).

Are people refusing to take the COVID vaccine because they are ‘anti-vaxxers’?

Some outlets have proclaimed France to have an ‘anti-vaxx’ problem, but is that true under the traditional definition of anti-vaxx, i.e. being opposed to all vaccines?

Although sizeable minorities in many countries say they won’t take the vaccine, very few are doing so because of ‘anti-vaxxer’ attitudes. The proportion of the population refusing to take the vaccine because they are “opposed to vaccines in general” is indeed highest in France, but at 9% is a far cry from the overall 48% of French people saying they won’t take the vaccine.

(Please note, this survey was conducted on an earlier edition of the tracker, so the figures for those who won’t take the vaccine don’t match the more recent figures from earlier in this article)

In France, and indeed everywhere else, by far the largest portion of those who say they won’t take the vaccine say it is simply because they are waiting to see if it is safe.

Should taking the COVID-19 vaccine be mandatory?

With vaccine production ramping up, the question becomes about how to ensure as many people as possible take the vaccine. As part of that, countries will need to grapple with whether or not to compel people to get vaccinated.

Such a move is most popular in India (77%), Indonesia (71%) and Mexico (65%). Unsurprisingly given their reluctance to take the drug themselves, French and Polish people are least likely to support compulsory vaccinations, at 19% and 21% respectively.

Britons are split, with 40% supportive and 42% opposed. Americans tend much more to oppose, at 46% compared to only 29% who would back mandatory vaccinations.

See the most results for Chart 1 (willingness to take the vaccine) here, and the rest of the results here