Posted by Richard Willett - Memes and headline comments by David Icke Posted on 8 May 2024

Majority Are ‘Vaccine Hesitant’, Survey Finds

Results from a large online survey of adults in France find that, despite the large uptake in mRNA COVID-19 vaccines in France (93%), uncertainty about them still exists within a majority of the French population. This hesitancy isn’t simply restricted to a few ‘anti-vaxxers’ but concerns about long-term safety of mRNA vaccines exist amongst the general population and are a big factor in vaccine hesitancy. In their conclusion, based on the survey, the authors suggest that “public health experts and decision-makers should abandon their tendency to label all forms of doubts about scientific consensus and beliefs that run counter to it as a rejection of science itself”.

The COVID-19 pandemic enabled mRNA vaccines to be used on a large proportion of the population (in France the uptake rate was 93% with similarly high uptake rates in many other countries), showcasing their potential to combat infectious diseases, including cancer. However, the survey found that only a small majority of the participants (51%) supported the idea that “Messenger RNA is a promising technology for tomorrow’s medicine”, despite the high uptake in the country.

Only 15% of survey respondents strongly agreed with the view that “In the event of a new epidemic, mRNA vaccines will be useful” with 31% agreeing, 35% don’t know, 10% disagreeing and 9% strongly disagreeing. Similarly, there was no strong consensus that it was “Thanks to the mRNA vaccines that the COVID-19 epidemic was bought under control”, with 11% strongly agreeing with this statement while 14% strongly disagreed with the statement; as for most of the questions, the don’t knows were the largest group (32%).

A question about the long-term side-effects of mRNA vaccines was the only question where a clear majority of respondents supported the statement posed, with 62% of respondents agreeing with the statement that “There is still a lot we don’t know about the long-term effects of messenger RNA vaccines”. Among these respondents, 15% were unvaccinated, 50% had doubts despite vaccination and 35% were vaccinated and comfortable with it. Notably, 78% of these respondents supported vaccination overall and trusted science and doctors, similar to the general population. However, they exhibited lower confidence in Government, health agencies and the pharmaceutical industry. This group, representing nearly two-thirds of the French population, displayed scepticism towards political and economic influences on science during the pandemic.

Those expressing doubts were not categorically anti-vaccine but questioned aspects of the technology and governance surrounding it. Such scepticism doesn’t inherently reject science but reflects public unease navigating science’s intersection with politics and economics. Labelling dissenting views as ‘anti-science’ oversimplifies complex dynamics. Policy responses should move beyond information dissemination, addressing systemic issues and integrating diverse perspectives to foster trust and informed decision-making in public health.

Dr. Maggie Cooper is a pharmacist and research scientist.

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