A third of Britons have said they are either unsure or definitely wouldn’t use a vaccine for coronavirus, a poll has found.
The survey, conducted on behalf of the Centre for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH), coincides with the release of a report by the same group into the spread of anti-vaccine misinformation online.
The poll found that members of the public who relied on social media more than traditional platforms for information were less likely to say they would get vaccinated.
The survey spoke to 1,663 people in Britain, with 6% saying they definitely wouldn’t get vaccinated.
But a further 10% said they would “probably not” while another 15% said they did not know, taking the numbers of those who may not get vaccinated against the deadly disease up to almost a third of those surveyed.
A total of 69% were likely to use a vaccine after 38% said they “definitely” would and another 31% declared they “probably” would.
With scientists predicting that more than three-quarters of the population would need to be vaccinated in order to have success in suppressing coronavirus, the findings could represent a threat to the ability to contain COVID-19.
CCDH said its polling results come amid a dramatic rise in the popularity of anti-vaccine social media pages and channels, with 7.7 million more social media users following such accounts since the outbreak of coronavirus.
The research group’s poll was carried out by YouGov between 24 and 25 June
The UK lost its measles-free status last year due to experiencing a fall in the number of parents ensuring their children were vaccinated.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said at the time that the UK was “suddenly going in the wrong direction” and that “people have been listening to that superstitious mumbo jumbo on the internet, all that anti-vax stuff”.
In its new report, titled The Anti-Vax Industry, the CCDH suggests the total following for anti-vax advocates and groups online is up to 57 million across both the US and UK.
It analysed more than 400 anti-vax Facebook groups and pages, YouTube channels, Twitter and Instagram accounts.
The study found they were publishing false conspiracy theories, including that Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates had created the coronavirus pandemic, that vaccines cause COVID-19, and that tests for the coronavirus vaccine had caused women to become infertile.
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