Malaysians doubtful of Covid-19 vaccine

by DASHVEENJIT KAUR / pic by BLOOMBERG

ALTHOUGH Malaysia is among the top countries in the world with the highest interest in getting a Covid-19 vaccine, 33% Malaysians are having doubt over its effectiveness and 48% are worried about its side effects.

In a survey by Ipsos (M) Sdn Bhd titled “Global Attitudes on a Covid-19 Vaccine”, the study done for the World Economic Forum showed 15% Malaysians “somewhat disagree” that they would have access to the vaccine irrespective of socio-economic background.

On top of that, slightly more than a third or 35% Malaysians opt against getting a vaccine.

“Malaysians who chose not to take the vaccine also stated that they are not at risk of the pandemic,” the report stated, adding that this is higher than the global average of 19%.

Another 36% believed that they are not at risk enough while 7% are against vaccines in general.

Despite this, Malaysia is the eighth-most optimistic nation among 27 polled, with 86% of Malaysians saying they would get a vaccine once it is available.

Nearly half or 48% of its respondents are also confident that a Covid-19 vaccine will be available before the end of the year while the global average stands at 41%.

The Ipsos survey, conducted from July 24 to Aug 7 in 27 countries, listed China as a standout country, with 97% of its respondents saying they would get vaccinated against Covid-19 if a jab was available, followed by Brazil (88%), Australia (88%), India (87%), Malaysia (86%) and the UK (85%).

Countries with the lowest intent in getting vaccinated against Covid-19 are Russia (54%), Poland (56%), Hungary (56%) and France (59%).

The study was conducted among 19,519 adults, aged 18 to 74 in the US, Canada, Malaysia, South Africa and Turkey, and aged 16 to 74 in 22 other countries.

In most countries, those who agreed with getting a vaccine outnumber those who disagreed by a significant margin.

Three in four adults globally, or 74%, are willing to get a jab but only 37% are firm in their view.

Ipsos Malaysia MD Arun Menon said public opinion and acceptability play the most important role in the success of a Covid-19 vaccine, as countries and companies push against time to release it.

“Malaysians stand with the emerging economies, in their optimism for early availability of Covid-19 vaccine. Universal and affordable public health care systems support Malaysian confidence in the availability of vaccines for the masses.

“Public authorities should be conscious about the general apprehension of side effects and vaccine effectiveness as potential barriers of adoption,” he said.

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