Vaccine fear may undermine COVID fight

The news of Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine success is being heralded as a breakthrough in the pandemic battle.

But in addition to the many logistical hurdles it may still face, a study released in the UK on Tuesday warns of another, human, obstacle: misinformation and public mistrust of a vaccine.

As many as 36% of people in Britain say they are either uncertain or very unlikely to agree to be vaccinated against the virus, according to scientists behind the research.

The feeling amongst the medical community, however, is that an 80% uptake of a COVID-19 vaccine may be needed to protect communities from infections spreading.

Opinion polls carried out before and during the pandemic have also found that confidence in the effectiveness and safety of vaccines varies dramatically across different countries and populations.

This was mainly due to political polarization and online misinformation being the likely reasons to affect rates of uptake.

The British Academy and the Royal Society carried out the research and said an "open dialog" is critical to building public support for vaccination, and also called for a "frank conversation" to manage public expectation about when life can return to normal.