The percentage of people wishing to be vaccinated against Covid-19 has increased to 20 points in two months in the main European countries, according to a study published Friday (22) by the British institute YouGov. At the same time as interest in vaccination grows, however, vaccine doses are lacking on the continent, which is already leading some governments to threaten to sue manufacturers.
Adherence to the vaccine has increased in all eight countries YouGov studied over time. The biggest jumps were recorded in Sweden (21 points in two months) and the United Kingdom (20 points since November). In these two countries, respectively 66% and 81% of those who wish to be vaccinated or who have already received the vaccine.
The lowest rate remains in France: less than half (46%) say they are likely to take the vaccine. The French are now the only population in which people interested in the vaccine are not in the majority (in November, the rates were also in the minority between Germans and Swedes).
Although much lower than that of its neighbors, the current percentage of membership in France is the highest on record since November and almost double that of mid-December, when it fell to just 24%.
Among Europeans, the UK is the most advanced country in terms of vaccination: vaccination began about a month before neighbors and the British had already immunized 8% of its population, three times the rate in Spain and four times the rate in Germany.
The UK government has also approved the use of three immunizers – Oxford / AstraZeneca, Pfizer / BioNTech and Moderna – while the European Union has only approved the latter two, which have more complex storage and distribution logistics and more expensive. The EMA (EU regulatory agency) is expected to approve the Oxford product next week.
In addition to starting later and approving fewer products so far, the European Union has suffered delays due to a lack of vaccines. This week vaccination was halted in parts of Germany, Italy and Spain, after Pfizer cut production – according to the company, the reduction is temporary and aimed at increasing production capacity.
In Italy, the daily average of injections has increased from 80,000 to 28,000 and, in the most affected regions, the figures have dropped to 60%. The Italian government says it has been informed by Pfizer that there is expected to be a reduction also next week, of around 20% and, in response, threatens to sue the manufacturer.
Poland has only received half of the doses and is talking about going to court against the laboratory for breach of the supply contract if the flow does not return to normal in February. Hungary, on the other hand, has approved the Sputnik V vaccine, produced by Russia, on an urgent basis and is also considering approving products supplied by China, although they do not have EU approval. .
The shortage is hurting even countries that make vaccines, like Germany, where BioNTech is headquartered. In the most populous state, North Rhine-Westphalia, injections were suspended this week in hospitals and nursing homes, and vaccination centers for the elderly will be closed until February.
Easy and safe access to vaccines is one of the key measures to avoid population resistance to vaccines, according to behavior specialists who are dedicated to improving public health policies.
WHAT BEHAVIORAL SCIENCE SUGGESTS TO RAISE VACCINE ADHESION
ENVIRONMENT (increase membership of those who have no prior restriction)
Location – the closer, known, convenient and reliable it is, the greater the acceptance. In the current pandemic, it is important to avoid overcrowding and contagion
Cost of vaccination – avoid travel expenses and schedules that hamper people’s work
Time spent – allow scheduling, avoid queues, extend schedules
Treatment – prepare healthcare professionals to welcome, ensure safety, and answer questions about disease and vaccines
Information – disseminate educational, accessible and clear messages
Reminders – send emails, texts or phone messages to remind patients that they are about to be vaccinated
Standards – make vaccines the norm, so you have to decide if the person does not want to take them
SOCIAL INFLUENCE (helps convince people in doubt)
Positive visibility – reinforcing the fact that the majority want to be vaccinated, instead of focusing on the minority who refuse the vaccination. Publicize scenes of people vaccinated and place vaccination posts in visible places Window open – highlight changes in position in favor of the vaccine; hearing that others are increasingly adopting a behavior prompts people to make the same arguments – training health professionals to recognize the reasons for vaccine resistance and to eliminate it; research also shows they are more likely to recommend vaccination when they have been vaccinated References – amplify support from opinion leaders – religious leaders, renowned scientists, community leaders Language – prioritize personal stories rather than general arguments based on statistics Aim – to the point that vaccination has a collective effect and protects the most vulnerable
MOTIVATION (prevents the doubtful from giving up)
Anticipation – Confidence in the vaccine needs to be built up before people form an opinion against it. This involves managing expectations and clarifying doubts transparently, including side effects, well before the start of vaccination.
REGULATIONS (for those who are resistant to vaccines)
Mandatory requirement – make vaccination a condition for travel, benefits, work or study. Research shows that strategies that try to change a person’s opinion have little effect
WHAT MAKES VACCINATION DIFFICULT:
fear of contagion at the vaccination site influence of opinion makers against vaccination opposing opinion about the vaccine in groups in which the person participates (church, company, clubs, family circle or friends) excessive visibility of people or theories against the vaccine
Sources: Psychological Science and WHO Technical Advisory Group on Perceptions and Behavioral Sciences for Health