61% of Maltese believe taking COVID vaccine still a civic duty

Support for mandatory vaccination in Malta falls from 52% to 45% after relaxation of restrictions

92% of Maltese say they are vaccinated, but enthusiasm for making the COVID-19 vaccine mandatory has waned compared to last year, a Eurobarometer survey found.

The percentage of Maltese who believe that “everyone should get vaccinated against COVID-19 because it is a civic duty” fell by 15 points between May 2021 and February 2022 while the percentage of those who believe the vaccine should be mandatory has fallen from 52% to 45%.

But the survey still showed strong support for restricting access to some events or places to unvaccinated people. In fact, in February 66% of Maltese favoured restricting access to unvaccinated people. Most of these restrictions were subsequently lifted.

But the absolute majority of Maltese (61%) still believe that taking the vaccine is a civic duty. On average, across the EU, 67% agree that it is a civic duty to get vaccinated, four points more than in May 2021.

The largest proportion agreeing that it is a civic duty to get vaccinated against COVID-19 is reported in those countries which lost most lives to the virus in the early stages of the pandemic namely Italy (83%), followed by Spain and Portugal (both 81%). In May 2021, respondents in these three countries were also more likely than their counterparts in other countries to agree with this statement.

In sharp contrast, in six countries, less than half of respondents agree that it is a civic duty to get vaccinated, with the overall lowest proportions observed in Bulgaria (38%), Slovakia (39%) and Hungary (41%). On average, across the EU, there are now more citizens agreeing that it is a civic duty to get vaccinated.

Moreover, 62% of the Maltese cannot understand why people are reluctant to get vaccinated. When asked about vaccines in general, although 80% believe vaccines are safe, a small minority (14%) disagrees. Worryingly, vaccine sceptics have increased by seven points over last year.

The survey also reports a seven-point drop in the percentage of Maltese who believe that vaccination should be compulsory. Presently only 45% of Maltese believe that the vaccine should become mandatory compared to 56% of all EU respondents and 73% of Italians.

The survey also shows that 55% agree with vaccinating children against COVID-19.

In about half of the member states, a majority of respondents agree that it is good to vaccinate children against COVID-19, with respondents in Italy, Finland, Portugal and Spain being overall the most likely to agree with this statement (70%-72%).

The survey confirms widespread satisfaction with the way the national authorities and the EU have handled vaccination. Although the vast majority of Maltese (71%) are satisfied with the vaccination strategy of their government, the proportion of those being satisfied has decreased by 14 percentage points compared to May 2021. 67% are also satisfied with the way the EU has handled the vaccination strategy, 8 points less than in May 2021.

  Malta EU
Vaccine should be mandatory 45% 56%
Taking vaccine is a civic duty 61% 67%
Government handled vaccination well 71% 49%
EU handled vaccination well 67% 53%
Good to vaccinate children 66% 71%