Seven In 10 People ‘Trust’ Vaccines, says Ipsos MRBI Survey For IPHA

Posted on November, 21 - 2019

Almost seven in 10 people trust vaccines and believe the medical evidence for their effectiveness, according to a new survey by Ipsos MRBI for the Irish Pharmaceutical Healthcare Association, which represents the originator biopharmaceutical industry.

The research shows 67% of people are vaccines ‘believers’ while just 3% are ‘non-believers’. But 30% are unsure about them.

The figure for ‘believers’ was higher among women at 70%. For men, the figure is 65%. Uncertainty about vaccines was highest among the over-55s at 34%.

Respondents said a lack of information is the biggest barrier to being vaccinated, followed by concerns over side-effects.

Almost half of respondents have never heard of the term ‘herd immunity’ which arises when a high percentage of the population is protected through vaccination. But once explained, almost nine in ten accept that herd immunity is important, according to the survey.

IPSOS MRBI carried out the survey in the first half of last month, with 975 interviews conducted by telephone with adults aged over 18.

Oliver O’Connor, IPHA Chief Executive described the research as “an important signpost” on the path to increasing the uptake of vaccinations as a barrier to disease.

Vaccines work. They save lives and protect the wider community. Our industry, which develops vaccines, is keen to boost public awareness of the importance of vaccinations. That’s a goal with share with the Government and the health authorities. Together, we can help to stop the spread of vaccine-preventable diseases,” said Oliver O’Connor.

Earlier this year, IPHA launched a social media campaign, #VaccinesWork, aimed at raising public awareness about the importance of vaccination. The WHO estimates that vaccines saves up to three million lives each year. With the exception of clean, safe drinking water, vaccination is one of the most successful and cost-effective public health interventions ever.

However, its success is increasingly under threat as vaccination rates continue to fall below the required 95% uptake rate to ensure ‘herd protection’. A direct result of that is an increase in the number of global outbreaks of serious diseases such as measles. The best way to protect populations against these diseases is to vaccinate directly.

Notes for Editors

The World Health Organisation identifies vaccine hesitancy among the top 10 threats to global health in 2019. This hesitancy is caused by a number of elements including misinformation, complacency and varying societal factors. Vaccines have potentially become a victim of their own success with people becoming desensitised to the potentially devastating effects of vaccine preventable diseases. For example, it is estimated that 110,000 people died from measles in 2017. Most of those who died were under the age of five. This equates to 301 preventable deaths every day or nearly 13 each hour. Aside from this, measles is a highly infectious and serious disease that can cause chest infections, fits, ear infections, swelling on the brain and brain damage.