A new Ipsos survey of more than 18,000 adults in 15 countries asked the question: “Would you be vaccinated if a COVID-19 vaccine was available?”
“The main reason people refuse to be vaccinated is because they fear the potential consequences of the vaccine,” said Antoine Bristielle, researcher at the Jean Jaurès Foundation.
“They don’t trust their government or their scientific institutions when these institutions say, ‘You have to get vaccinated.’
“Because they don’t trust their institutions, they are too afraid of being vaccinated. ”
These results were supported by another poll from consulting firm Odoxa-Dentsu last month, which suggested that half of the French population would not have a COVID-19 vaccine.
This mistrust of vaccines dates back decades.
According to researchers, the anti-vaccination lobby has been gaining ground in France since the 1980s.
There was a successful program in France for mass inoculation against hepatitis B, but then suspicion arose that the bite could cause multiple sclerosis.
Successive studies have ruled out this theory but the rumors have persisted.
The government says it hopes to start administering doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to the most vulnerable from the end of this year, but French President Emmanuel Macron has said the vaccine will not be mandatory.
“We need feedback, ideally in near real time, so that if there are things that we haven’t seen during clinical trials that have been cut short because of the crisis, we can at least see them very quickly, ”said Mounia Hocine, biostatistician.
“This is all part of the expected need for information and transparency. ”
At France’s largest airport, Paris Charles de Gaulle, airlines are preparing for vaccine deliveries.
Logistical planning to secure orders for millions of doses is underway, but there is a bigger challenge for the government, which is to convince the French population to have the vaccine once it arrives.