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Study reveals opinions about COVID-19 vaccine and prioritisation

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Published on Tuesday, 27 April 2021

A survey conducted among 5,000 persons in France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Sweden during March 2021 reveals how residents feel about COVID-19 vaccination strategies and prioritisation.

Priorities for getting vaccinated

Respondents from five European countries were asked who should have priority for the Coronavirus vaccine. The majority of people chose the options “those who are clinically vulnerable” and “front-line workers”. As such, most people agree with the priorities established in the current vaccination programmes in Europe, but with a substantial percentage thinking that individual responsibility should be a factor in access to vaccines.

This pattern of preferences holds whether these countries are considered separately or altogether. Further analysis suggests that this view is shared slightly more by older members of society (aged 50+) than the younger. This vaccine preference is remarkably stable across different levels of respondent income, and men and women also provide very similar responses.

Distribution of vaccines within the European Union

Survey respondents were also asked how the European Union (EU) should distribute vaccines if there are not enough for every EU citizen. Both overall and within each country separately, the vulnerability of the population was deemed an important consideration, as was the country’s population. The third most-frequent option selected was distribution based upon the stringency of the member state’s policies. The contribution of each country to the EU’s budget was the least important factor for vaccine distribution.

Less than half of respondents agree with the current EU policy of vaccine distribution by country population; at least as many think that either the vulnerability of the population or the lockdown policies that the country introduced should also play a role in vaccine distribution.

The survey also assessed if respondents feel more attached to their country or to Europe, using answers from respondents who are strongly attached to their country and not at all attached to Europe and vice versa. The similarities between these groups are striking: two groups of people with very different views of belonging then seem to be of one mind regarding priorities for the EU’s vaccine distribution. 

The survey is part of the COME-HERE study conducted by Profs. Conchita D’Ambrosio and Claus Vögele which sheds light on people’s lives during the pandemic.

For more information visit the website pandemic.uni.lu.