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West Midlands research study reveals attitudes to vaccines

West Midlands research study reveals attitudes to vaccines

A recent survey undertaken by the Clinical Research Network West Midlands (CRN WM) has highlighted key issues with vaccine uptake which its authors hope will influence government policy on vaccine hesitancy.

It is believed to be the largest and first cross-sectional survey in the UK to examine the various factors influencing the uptake of a potential approved COVID-19 vaccine. On Tuesday 8 December, the UK became the first official country to roll out a national Covid-19 vaccine programme, so these results are timely.

The Uptake Study: Insights And Beliefs Of The UK Population On Vaccines During The Covid-19 Pandemic was carried out by researchers from the Universities of Wolverhampton and Birmingham with the support of the Clinical Research Network West Midlands (CRN WM) and The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust (RWT).

This study is currently only available in a pre-print version and awaits submission and formal peer-review.

The data however, provide a unique insight into the key drivers and barriers to vaccine uptake from the largest UK survey to date . 4,884 people responded to the invitation to the survey between 4 September 2020 and 9 October 2020.

Key findings were:

- 79% were interested in taking approved vaccines
- Groups most likely to accept approved vaccines were participants aged over 70 years and those of South Asian ethnicity
- Males and females were both equally likely to take the approved vaccine
- Just over one in 10 respondents were unsure about taking a vaccine, but only seven out of 100 respondents would definitely not take a vaccine
- Smokers, those with no known illness and the Black and Chinese communities expressed more caution about accepting the vaccine
- Of those who would choose not to have the vaccine, around half had previously declined vaccines in the past

It’s also believed to be the first study to identify smokers as being less likely to accept approved vaccines which could be an area of concern.

However, it gives reassurance that he high-risk groups identified by the UK government are more likely to take the vaccine.

Dr Sonika Sethi from RWT, Lead Author of the study said: ‘Our work clearly shows the need to design interventional and public health strategies to engage and encourage participation from groups not interested in taking the approved vaccine. We believe that primary care should be at the forefront of these educational strategies, as participants are more likely to be willing to be vaccinated if recommended by their healthcare provider.’

Professor Matthew Brookes, Deputy Clinical Director of the CRN WM added: ‘This work has seen a largely positive response to accepting the approved COVID-19 vaccinations.

‘If we assume that 70-80% uptake is needed to ensure adequate immunity within the community then this work is reassuring but we will need to ensure that we support those groups within our communities who need more information to support their decision making around the future choices for vaccination.’

ENDS

For further information contact Claire Hall, Communications Lead on 07887 737047.