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1 in 5 Belgians don’t want a coronavirus vaccination

Credit: Belga

Twenty percent of Belgians do not want the vaccine against coronavirus, Knack reports on Tuesday based on the results of an online survey conducted among 1016 Belgians 25 years and older between 8 and 14 September by the research firm Kantar.

“It will therefore be important to conduct a good campaign on this subject,” stressed Professor Pierre Van Damme, epidemiologist at the University of Antwerp.

Twelve percent of Belgians questioned will “surely not” get vaccinated against coronavirus, 8% will “probably not” and 27% do not know yet. This means that barely half of the population intends to get vaccinated, according to this survey.

There are, however, significant differences within the Belgian population: 19% of French-speaking people say “no” to the vaccine compared with 7% of Dutch-speaking people.

Even more remarkable is the proportion of women (15%) who do not want to hear about the vaccine compared to only 8% of men. Opposition to the vaccine is strongest among people on low incomes, where 25% of those surveyed answered “definitely not” compared to 10% for those on higher incomes.

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When asked why they do not intend to be vaccinated, 53% of the fierce opponents of the vaccine reported being afraid of side effects, 32% were against vaccination, 8% think enough other people will be vaccinated and 3% said they have already been vaccinated against coronavirus.

“The coronavirus vaccine will be developed according to the normal procedure before being put on the market,” insisted Professor Van Damme. “It will go through all the necessary study phases and will be tested on many more people than many other drugs. We will thus be much better informed about the safety of the vaccine”.

“We certainly need to explain it better because it is vital that many people get vaccinated,” Van Damme continued. “We don’t yet know how effective the vaccine will be, but let’s assume that it works well in 80% of people who are vaccinated and that 70% of the population, from all walks of life, are vaccinated. We will then arrive at a group immunity of 60%. Add to this the people who have had the coronavirus and are therefore protected, we then arrive at 70%,” he said.

“We can then speak of a good protection of the population. However, two conditions are necessary: firstly, the vaccine must work well in 80% of people, and we don’t know this yet. Secondly, 70% of the population must be vaccinated. It is therefore important to carry out a good campaign in this respect.”

The Brussels Times