The Sunday Telegraph

Vaccine doubters more likely to be convinced if offered a choice of jab, survey reveals

- By Edward Malnick

GIVING people a choice of Covid-19 jabs could be the best way of converting those who are currently unsure about whether to have an injection, according to research.

A major study by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) found that almost one in four people who were unsure about whether to accept a jab said they could be convinced by being offered a choice of vaccine. By contrast, only 11 per cent said they could be swayed by NHS advice.

The survey of more than 16,000 people also found that the introducti­on of vaccine passports could reduce uptake of vaccines in cities, leading to “concentrat­ed areas of low vaccinate uptake” and heightenin­g the overall “epidemic risk”.

Ministers are believed to have ditched plans to make Covid-19 passports a legal requiremen­t for large events, but fans attending England’s Euro 2020 games at Wembley Stadium will be required to show proof of vaccinatio­n or a negative test before entry.

The research by the Vaccine Confidence Project at the LSHTM and ORB Internatio­nal found that the proportion of people saying they would “definitely” accept a Covid-19 vaccine had increased from 49 per cent in October to 63 per cent in April – following the approval of a series of jabs. However, in London, Northern Ireland and among black communitie­s, there is still “much work to do” to convince people to have vaccines, the researcher­s said.

The Government is understood to have no plans to offer patients a choice over which jab they receive, although most adults under the age of 40 are being given an alternativ­e to the Oxford-AstraZenec­a vaccine due to a link with rare blood clots.

However, of the 1,975 respondent­s who were yet to be invited to receive a jab and were unsure or said they would not accept one, 23 per cent said a “choice of vaccine” might convince them otherwise. Only 14 per cent said they might be convinced by advice from family or friends, while 12 per cent said they may be swayed by advice from healthcare profession­als.

“Being offered ‘a choice of vaccine’ would do the most to convert those who are hesitant to become vaccine confident,” the researcher­s said.

The survey also found that 28 per cent of unvaccinat­ed people would be less likely to accept a jab if vaccine passports were required in this country, compared to 27 per cent who said they would be more likely to opt for a jab. Some 32 per cent of people in low income households who had not been invited and were hesitant said they would be less inclined to be inoculated if passports were rolled out.

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