Pharmacist Murtaza Abdulkarim (L) administers a dose of the AstraZeneca / Oxford Covid-19 vaccine to a patient at the Al-Abbas Islamic Center in Birmingham, West Midlands on February 4, 2021 at a temporary vaccination center manned by pharmacists and pharmacist assistants.

Oli Scarff | AFP | Getty Images

LONDON – More than three-quarters of people in the UK say they are “very likely” to have a coronavirus vaccine, according to a survey by Oxford University, up from 50% among the same group of respondents five months ago.

The study is part of the research project funded by Oxford UniversityThe COVID-19 response was conducted on a representative sample of over 1,600 adults in the UK using the YouGov polling agency.

The percentage of people “likely” or “very likely” to take the vaccine was found to have increased from 78% since the respondents were sampled last October to 87%.

It turned out that age is still a strong indicator of willingness to take the vaccine. The 50 to 59 age group has been much more positive about the vaccine since October.

There is a group of around 7% of the population who remain “very unlikely” to take the vaccine and that has not changed significantly, the study says.

However, the survey of 1,200 UK residents, contacted in early October 2020 and again in the first week of February 2021, found strong links between political attitudes and willingness to accept the vaccine, and that important gaps remain caused by income and ethnicity.

The study, co-authored by researchers from the University of Oxford, the London School of Economics and University College London, found that people on lower incomes, on average, are much less willing to take the vaccine. It was also found that ethnic minority participants’ views of the vaccine had slightly declined in favor of the shot, but still lagged behind the white population represented in the survey.

The introduction of vaccination in the UK began in December, with priority given to the elderly, residents and workers of nursing homes, and healthcare workers. The nationwide vaccination program has so far been seen as a success. The rollout now extends to more priority groups in younger age groups and those who are considered clinically at risk. As of Monday, nearly 18 million people had received their first dose of a coronavirus vaccine.

However, government officials expressed concern about the reluctance of the vaccine among some key groups, including nursing home workers and some ethnic minorities.

Barriers to vaccine uptake include risk perception, low confidence in the vaccine, distrust of the medical facility, and lack of support or communication from trusted providers and community leaders, the government said in a recently released report. It has tried to combat vaccine reluctance by engaging faith leaders and local doctors who can easily connect with their local communities and promote vaccine uptake.

However, according to the Oxford study, it has been found that political beliefs also influence vaccine uptake, including whether or not respondents voted for Brexit. The study found that “retainers”, those who voted to keep the UK in the EU, were 7 percentage points more likely to be willing to take the vaccine than “leavers” or those who did not vote in the 2016 referendum.

People who voted for the Brexit Party or Green in 2019 – and especially those who didn’t vote at all – were the least willing to take the vaccine, with the Scottish National Party supporters and Liberal voters being the most positive .

There is a lot of focus on vaccine rollouts in the UK and beyond. The UK government recently put forward a four-step plan to lift a national lockdown in England in the coming weeks and months, but said it would rely on data rather than data in determining how and when restrictions will be lifted. How quickly it can reopen public life will affect how quickly its economy, which contracted nearly 10% in 2020, can recover.

Ben Ansell, professor of comparative democratic institutions at Oxford University’s Department of Politics and International Relations, said the results showed that “important gaps remain, especially among groups whose trust in politicians is typically lower: non-voters, younger citizens and the poor Households. “”

“With so much of the UK government’s lockdown exit strategy relied on the successful introduction of vaccines, these insights will be of immediate relevance to policymakers both in their internal policy deliberations and in their outward communication with the public . “

The Economist Intelligence Unit has forecast that most developed countries should immunize 60-70% of their population by mid-2022 if vaccine rollouts go as expected. However, it believes that the economic impact of the introduction of vaccinations should come sooner, with the global economic recovery accelerating from mid-2021.