the majority see the injection unsafe but take less care against contagion

The Carlos III Health Institute has just published the preliminary results of the first survey directed to the unvaccinated in Spain. It has its limitations - it is online, anonymous and is not representative of the entire population - but it reveals, in the midst of the rise of infections and with the Ministry of Health focused on accelerating the administration of third doses, a little more information on the reasons of those who have refused to be immunized even with one. Until now, the closest approximation was provided by the CIS, which drew a profile of those not vaccinated by income level, ideology or place of residence.

The profile of the unvaccinated, according to the CIS: young people, Vox or abstainers

The profile of the unvaccinated, according to the CIS: young people, Vox or abstainers

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In this case, of the 2,132 people who have answered the questions, 55% are men, 58% have university studies and 67% indicated that they are working, 22% of them in "environments with moderate risk of contagion." One in three is between 45 and 60 years old.

Of all of them, 95% had not taken any dose and 5% only one. The main reason they give is that "vaccines have developed quickly, are not safe or are in the experimental phase" (72%). A significant part are also concerned about side effects (48%), consider that vaccines "are a business" (41%) or that they do not work (41%). Only 12% deny that the coronavirus exists and 7% affirm that they do not believe in vaccines. The percentages do not add up to 100% because the answer is multiple. The results coincide with what the CIS already revealed: among the unvaccinated there are more people with doubts about the vaccine than deniers of the pandemic or anti-vaccines.

The survey, published when Spain has reached almost 80% of the total population with a complete schedule, also reveals that unvaccinated people comply with preventive measures less than the general population because they have less perception of the severity of the disease -despite the fact that the risk posed to them by the virus is much greater- They are less informed and have a low degree of confidence in the information. The comparison is made by taking the results of the COSMO-SPAIN study, which periodically registers since July 2020 the attitude of citizens to the pandemic.

The adherence to the mask is 30 points lower (64% vs 95%) and 59% declare that they ventilate compared to 94% in general. They also take less care of hand hygiene (47% vs 90%), avoid crowded places (40% vs 85%) or social gatherings (15% vs 69%) and forget more about the safety distance ( 15% vs 69%).

Six out of ten think that the measures that Spain has taken to deal with the pandemic are "exaggerated", compared to 16% of the general population. And 60% also ensure that "never or almost never" consult information about the coronavirus, 40 points more than the average, according to the ISCIII. Furthermore, "the percentage of the population that thinks that the disease would be serious or very serious in case of contagion is 9% (compared to 24% in the general population, according to the COSMO-Spain Round 8 survey).

And what are the chances of convincing them to get the vaccine? 60% affirm that they are not going to be vaccinated, neither now nor in the future; but 33% admit that they are not sure and 8% anticipate that they will do it later. Among those who have doubts, most want to wait a while (66%), 24% would be encouraged if they could "choose a vaccine" and 16% will do it "when they need it to travel."

The survey was conducted in mid-October with an epidemiological situation much more favorable than the current one. The cumulative incidence of cases at 14 days did not reach 50; today it exceeds 300. Once the preliminary results of this first survey are known, the ISCIII has already launched a complementary study with a sample that is representative of the Spanish population.

When the questionnaire was launched, Spain had not yet implemented measures aimed at unvaccinated people, such as the COVID passport. This tool is in effect today in eight communities Y, despite the reservations of epidemiologists about its effectiveness in reducing infections, has managed to push back some laggards. In Catalonia, for example, data reveal a 64% increase in the rate of vaccination in the first week from its start-up. A study published in The Lancet has concluded that the certificates can also be useful to increase vaccination rates in countries with lower coverage and especially among young people.

The results of the full survey can be viewed here.


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