Young people most sceptical about taking COVID-19 vaccine, MaltaToday survey finds

MaltaToday Survey • COVID-19 vaccine take-up will be high but young are most sceptical

More than 80% of Maltese people will be taking the COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available to them, a MaltaToday survey has found.

But young people aged between 16 and 35 are the more sceptical, possibly a reflection of the casualness towards the pandemic among this age group. The survey shows that 74.5% of young people (18-35) will be taking the COVID-19 vaccine, 8.1% will not and 17.4% are unsure. 

In total, out of all respondents of all ages, 84.2% said ‘yes’ and only 4.3% replied ‘no’. Another 11.5% were unsure. 

A survey carried out last month by The Sunday Times of Malta had found that more than 70% of the population were likely to take the vaccine and 4.6% replied with a categorical ‘no’. 

The latest MaltaToday results show a significant increase in the number of people, who are now convinced they will take the vaccine.

Health Minister Chris Fearne said last week said that Malta expects to reach herd immunity for COVID-19 by September. The full population can then be vaccinated by the end of 2021.

Although the World Health Organisation says that it is not yet known what proportion of the population must be vaccinated against COVID-19 to start inducing herd immunity, some scientists have put forward the figure of between 70% and 80%.

Although offered for free by the government, the COVID-19 vaccine take-up will be on a voluntary basis.

But if the MaltaToday survey numbers do materialise and people get the jab, achieving herd immunity does not appear to be a problem.

The survey findings show that women are slightly more unsure than men as to whether they will be taking the vaccine.

There are 83.1% and 85% of women and men respectively, who will take the jab. But 13.4% of women, as opposed to 10.2% of men, are unsure.

Young people aged between 16 and 35 are the more sceptical, possibly a reflection of the casualness towards the pandemic among this age group.

The survey shows that 74.5% of young people will be taking the COVID-19 vaccine, 8.1% will not and 17.4% are unsure.

The elderly, who were the hardest hit by COVID-19, are the most likely to take the vaccine. The survey shows that 92.2% of those aged 65 and over will take the jab, while 7.8% are unsure. None of the elderly surveyed said they will refuse the vaccine.

On a geographical basis, the Northern Harbour and Gozo have the highest numbers of people who will take the vaccine, 91.9% and 90.4% respectively.

Scepticism is highest in the South-Eastern and Western regions where 76.1% of people who live there will take the vaccine.

But almost 10% of people in the south east will not get the jab and 14.4% are unsure. In the Western region, a whopping 19.8% are unsure, while 4.2% will not get vaccinated.

A breakdown of results by political allegiance shows that Labour voters are slightly more hesitant than Nationalists.

The findings show that 89.2% of people who voted PN in the last general election will take the vaccine, while 84.7% of PL voters will do likewise.

There are 8.9% and 10.8% of PN and PL voters respectively who are unsure as to whether they will take the coronavirus vaccine.

And while 1.9% of PN voters say they will refuse the vaccine, the number increases to 4.5% among Labour voters.

A significant level of scepticism is found among non-voters. Just over half (53.4%) will take the vaccine but almost a third (31.3%) are unsure and 15.3% will not take the jab.

The survey clearly shows that people are very keen to get the COVID-19 vaccine but there may be pockets of resistance that the health authorities may want to address through informative campaigns.

The young are one such cohort that may have to be targeted through outreach in places of education, entertainment and workplaces to encourage them to get vaccinated.