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June 4, 2021

As the U.S. attempts to combat widespread vaccine hesitancy and persuade more Americans to get the Covid-19 shot, new polling from Morning Consult finds even higher rates of people unwilling or uncertain about getting the vaccine in countries like Russia, Australia and South Korea—while nearly everyone in India and China is planning to get inoculated.

 

Among 40,408 U.S. respondents polled between May 25-31, 31% were either unwilling or uncertain about getting the Covid-19 vaccine—19% are unwilling and 12% are uncertain—which is the sixth-highest vaccine hesitancy rate among the 15 countries Morning Consult polled.

Russia had the highest vaccine hesitancy rate with 53% unwilling or uncertain, followed by Australia (37%), South Korea (33%), Japan (33%) and France (31%).

The countries with the lowest rates of vaccine hesitancy are the United Kingdom (14%), India (12%) and China (8%), according to the poll, which surveyed between 1,864 and 4,566 respondents within non-U.S. countries.

 

Other North American countries have markedly lower rates of vaccine hesitancy than the U.S.: 19% of those in Mexico are uncertain or unwilling to get vaccinated, and 17% say the same in Canada.

The European countries polled had rates of vaccine hesitancy that are on par with or lower than the U.S.: In addition to France, 30% of Germans are uncertain or unwilling to get the vaccine, along with 20% in Italy and 17% in Spain.

Brazil has a 19% vaccine hesitancy rate, even as President Jair Bolsonaro has at various points downplayed and spread misinformation about the vaccines.

5.5%. That’s by how many percentage points the rate of vaccine skepticism has fallen on average in the 15 countries polled over the past seven weeks, according to Morning Consult, as rates of vaccine hesitancy trend downward worldwide. The countries with the biggest drops in skepticism are Germany (hesitancy rate went down by 10 percentage points), China (10%), France (9%) and Spain (8%).

“Every adult citizen of Russia has the opportunity to get vaccinated completely free of charge,” Russian President Vladimir Putin said Friday at the Saint Petersburg International Economic Forum, as his country faces high rates of vaccine hesitancy. “I'd like to ask our citizens to use this opportunity to protect themselves and their loved ones.”

Many countries with both high and low rates of vaccine hesitancy are also struggling with slow vaccine rollouts and low rates of vaccination. While vaccination rates are higher in countries like the U.S. and the U.K.—where approximately 51% and 59% of residents have received at least one dose, respectively, according to data compiled by the New York Times—rates are far lower in major countries like Japan (8.7% at least partially vaccinated), India (13% vaccinated), Mexico (18%) and Australia (16%). In Canada, which is using a strategy of delaying their second vaccine doses, 60% of the population has now received at least one vaccine dose but only 6.4% are fully vaccinated.

Vaccine hesitancy has been a significant fear amid the Covid-19 vaccine rollout, as countries like France and Japan have historically been heavily resistant to vaccines. The Morning Consult poll found respondents were most likely to turn down the shot due to concern about side effects and that the clinical trials moved too quickly, with other reasons including being generally against vaccines, distrust in the companies behind them and believing the risk of them contracting Covid-19 is too small. The White House and state officials have tried to combat vaccine hesitancy in the U.S. by offering numerous vaccine incentives—ranging from million-dollar lotteries to guns—and the White House has declared June a “National Month of Action” with an array of public-private partnerships to help persuade more people to get vaccinated. The Biden Administration has a goal of 70% of all U.S. adults receiving at least one vaccine shot by July 4.