A new peer reviewed article in the journal Vaccine has been published comparing surveys data on attitudes to vaccination from before the pandemic with attitudes now.
The authors report that “paradoxically, despite the success of COVID-19 vaccination campaigns, vaccine confidence has significantly declined since the onset of the pandemic”.
I am not quite sure why the authors appear so surprised at their result but a clue can be found in their use of the word “despite”. In many countries the “success” of the COVID-19 vaccination campaign relied in large part in pressuring, bullying and sometimes coercing people to get vaccinated.
Now if governments tell you that getting vaccinated is in your best interests, but that nonetheless those who choose not to get vaccinated will be pilloried in the press and on social media, barred from participated in normal everyday activities and, in some cases, sacked from their employment, perhaps we should not be surprised that people start to doubt whether those governments really do have their best interests at heart.
And those doubts have substance behind them. From a very early stage, it was clear that for many people, the known risks from vaccination probably outweighed any likely benefit. This was most obvious for those who had already had Covid (and for whom the marginal impact of vaccination in preventing a further infection was small), for groups who faced very low risks of serious illness if they contracted Covid and especially for young males for whom vaccination seems to be bring additional risks of heart problems.