Coronavirus: Population willingness to vaccinate is declining

Coronavirus: Population willingness to vaccinate is declining

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Corona: Fewer people ready to vaccinate

Experts believe that the corona pandemic will not end until vaccines against the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus are available and enough people have been vaccinated with it. But in European countries there is less willingness to get vaccinated against Corona.

Worldwide, more than 13 million people have already been infected with the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. In European countries, the increase in the number of cases in recent weeks has not been as strong as before. This probably also led to fewer people worrying about an infection. This could be a reason why vaccination readiness declines.

Would the population use a vaccine?

A vaccine is crucial in the fight against COVID-19. Would the population also use it? While in April 2020 70 percent of people in Germany were ready to get vaccinated, the number dropped to 61 percent in June, reports the University of Hamburg in a recent report. Many citizens are particularly concerned about possible side effects.

Lowest approval in Germany

In a representative study led by the Hamburg Center for Health Economics (HCHE) at the University of Hamburg, more than 7,000 people in Germany, Denmark, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal and Great Britain were interviewed in April and June 2020.

According to the information, the willingness to vaccinate against the coronavirus in the surveyed countries decreased from 74 percent in April to 68 percent only two months later. With the exception of Portugal, all countries have lower numbers, the largest differences are in Italy (minus 13 percent) and Germany (minus nine percent).

In addition to France, Germany has the lowest level of vaccination among the European countries surveyed. At the same time, the number of people in Germany who do not want to be vaccinated has doubled. In Germany, every fifth person says this now.

"It is worrying that more and more people are refusing to be vaccinated against the coronavirus, and this is far more people than those who fundamentally refuse to be vaccinated," explains Prof. Dr. Jonas Schreyögg, scientific director of HCHE.

Dangerousness of the virus is questioned

By a large margin, most people in all countries surveyed are worried about possible side effects and the inadequate effectiveness of a possible vaccine. According to the message, 45 percent of people who refuse vaccination and 61 percent of those who are unsure cite this as the main reason. One in seven people who are against vaccination do not believe that the virus is dangerous to their health.

However, the study also shows that respondents who say they trust information from the government, European Union, and the World Health Organization (WHO) are more open to vaccination.

"Politicians and scientists should therefore communicate very transparently about possible side effects and the effectiveness of a vaccine and promote the trust of citizens," advises Jonas Schreyögg.

Women are less secure

"We find the highest approval in all countries among men who are older than 55 and those who live in a household with older people or with a person with chronic previous illnesses," explains Schreyögg.

As the survey shows, women across all age groups are less certain whether they want to be vaccinated or not. In Germany in particular, it can be seen that families and households with physically or mentally handicapped people have the lowest willingness to vaccinate among all household constellations.

In addition, vaccination readiness differs within Germany and decreases from north (67 percent) to south (56 percent). In Bavaria, for example, only every second person (52 percent) is ready to get vaccinated. In contrast, there are only slight differences between the old (60 percent) and new federal states (65 percent). (ad)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.


  • University of Hamburg: Survey on the coronavirus pandemic in seven European countries: vaccination readiness is decreasing, concerns about side effects are growing, (access: July 15, 2020), University of Hamburg
  • Hamburg Center for Health Economics (HCHE) at the University of Hamburg: Corona research at HCHE, (accessed: July 15, 2020), Hamburg Center for Health Economics (HCHE)

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