CORONAVIRUS

30% of Spaniards have doubts about being vaccinated against Covid-19, poll reveals

According to a survey from the Carlos III Health Institute, 42% of respondents believe the worst of the pandemic is still to come

People wear face masks as they walk down the shopping strip in Seville.
People wear face masks as they walk down the shopping strip in Seville.PACO PUENTES / EL PAÍS

Not all Spaniards would get vaccinated against Covid-19 if the option was available. That’s according to the results of a study from the Carlos III Health Institute published on Tuesday. According to the national survey, 30% of respondents expressed doubts about whether they would be vaccinated against the coronavirus, compared to 70% who replied they would do so.

The study also looked at the public’s perception on different issues related to the pandemic: 64% said they were worried or very worried about the coronavirus crisis; 42% replied that the worst was still to come; and 80% agreed with the mandatory use of face masks in public spaces.

One in four participants replied that the pandemic was affecting their emotional state

The results come from the first round of a study known as COSMO-Spain on the public’s behavior and attitudes regarding Covid-19. This research is being coordinated by the Carlos III Health Institute from the National Epidemiological Center (CNE), and has been promoted by the World Health Organization. The goal of the study, which surveyed 1,033 participants, is to gather “information on the knowledge of the pandemic and perception of risk among the population,” according to a press release from the Health Ministry. The study is being carried out in 31 other countries.

On the issue of coronavirus vaccination, the survey asked participants to rate on a scale of one to five to what extent they agreed with the following statement: “If a vaccine against the coronavirus was available and it was prescribed to me, I would take it.” According to the results, 49% of respondents indicated five, meaning they were in total agreement; 21% chose four; 18% three; 5.6% two; and 6.8% one, meaning they totally disagreed with having a vaccine.

A 2018 survey from the European Commission found that 91.6% of Spaniards considered vaccines to be safe – one of the highest rates in Europe. Indeed, Spain ranked in third place, coming in behind Portugal (94%) and Denmark (94%), and far ahead of other European countries such as Bulgaria (66%) and France (70%).

Worse still to come

The survey results showed that there continues to be serious concern about the coronavirus crisis in Spain. According to the poll, 32% of respondents said they were “extremely” worried about the pandemic; 32% were “very” worried; 25% were “quite” worried, 10% “a little” worried; and 0.5% “not at all.”

There was also concern about the future, with 42% replying that the worst of the pandemic was still to come. Another 34% said the worst had passed and 23% said that Spain was currently experiencing the most challenging moment of the crisis. One in four participants replied that the pandemic was affecting their emotional state.

The survey showed that respondents were most concerned, in this order, about losing a loved one, people not wearing face masks, health services becoming overwhelmed and a new lockdown.

The results also highlighted the intense fear of contagion: 43% of participants believed they would suffer serious or very serious effects if infected, compared to 18% who thought they would experience mild or very mild symptoms. The remaining 49% of respondents replied they would have a “normal” case of the disease.

With respect to face masks, 80% agreed with their mandatory use in public spaces and 91.4% said they had used a face covering in the last seven days, in accordance with official regulations.

As for other preventive measures, 90% said they wash their hands with soap and water, 86% use hand sanitizer and 84% respect the two-meter social distancing rules. The survey also asked about the Spanish government’s tracking app, Radar Covid. According to the results, 59% of participants were willing to download it.

English version by Melissa Kitson.

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