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Confidence in coronavirus vaccine grows in Belgium

Credit: Belga

Confidence in vaccinations against coronavirus is growing in Belgium, a recent survey found.

The latest results of the Great Corona Study (conducted every two weeks by the University of Antwerp) show that 80% of the general public is prepared to get a jab to protect themselves against coronavirus.

Among health workers, the percentage is the same as for the general population, while it is higher for people in the population with risk factors (82%) and rises to 90% for the population over 65 years old.

People consider information on vaccines from general practitioners, pharmacists and scientific experts to be reliable, the study also found.

Conversely, the opinion of friends and family on the issue seems less important, and respondents indicated that they pay little attention to opinions published on social networks.

Respondents also seemed to be less concerned about any risks associated with the vaccine. Two in three people are concerned that the coronavirus vaccines carry greater risks than other long-standing vaccines, down from more than three in four during the summer, and 42% worry about severe side effects, down from 57% last summer.

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Some participants indicated they would be less compliant with coronavirus measures after being vaccinated, both after the first dose (20%) and the second (33%).

“If vaccinated people take the rules more lightly, this could reduce the motivation of non-vaccinated people,” warned Philippe Beutels of the University of Antwerp, saying it could relaunch the spread of the virus faster than the vaccination campaign could stop it, “because no vaccine is 100% effective.”

Belgium started its large-scale vaccination campaign on 5 January after a week of several successful pilot tests in nursing homes in various parts of the country.

So far, only the vaccine by Pfizer and BioNTech has been administered, but the first doses of the Moderna vaccine arrived in Belgium on Monday after it was recommended and approved on Wednesday for use in the EU.

The next questionnaire for the study can be filled in here on Tuesday until 10:00 PM.

Jason Spinks
The Brussels Times