Over the last year, the team at Eskenzi PR has been running a series of nationwide survey’s around topical issues that resonate with the general public, whether it’s track and trace, Brexit, Covid vaccines, working from home or Zoom behaviour. The idea came about because we found ourselves intrigued about certain topics dominating the conversation during what is probably the strangest year in everyone’s memory.
Every morning, the Eskenzi team have a staff catch-up Zoom meeting, and last week we got talking about the vaccine and wondered why so many people are against having it. Intrigued by the somewhat limited representation of the anti-vaccine views in our social media echo chambers, some of us couldn’t quite put their finger on how widespread this position was amongst the general public. So we decided to find out.
We have a great relationship with Censuswide, a very reputable research company that conducts surveys on large samples of respondents.
Curious about the reasons why people might feel distrusting of Covid vaccinations, one of the questions we asked was: “Has what you`ve read in the media about the Covid vaccine put you off having it?”
Interestingly, over 40 percent of Brits have been put off taking the COVID-19 vaccine because of what they have read in the media (we didn’t define whether it was the mainstream media or social media), with the figure rising substantially to 62% among 16 to 34 year olds, specifically; when compared to 21.5% in the 55+ age range. However, what’s important to note from this this survey is that, despite the scepticism, only 7% have confirmed that they will not take the vaccine as a result. Other sceptics concede that they will nevertheless take the vaccine, with 26% citing that it would be selfish not to do so (10%) or because they recognise it is for the greater good (16%). The remaining 8% of cynics also plan to take the vaccine, though begrudgingly.
We also asked people if they had read more news since the start of the pandemic and found that 60% agreed they had done so, with nearly a quarter (24%) reading the news to find out more about Covid-19 and the vaccine.
Our conclusion about these findings is that because people are consuming so much more news, it’s opened them up to a bombardment of information, some of which may be “misinformed” and “unsubstantiated”, from unconfirmed sources over social media. While a free and diverse media landscape is certainly a pillar of democracy, it seems as though the sheer amount of sources of information and the blurred line between official, reputable media outlets and less legitimate claims made on social media have created confusion and worry in the general population, who are now hesitant to receive their jabs.
It’s good to see though, that the vast majority will go on to take the vaccine even though they may be a bit sceptical!