Public mistrust of governments and media outlets is hampering COVID-19 vaccine rollout around the world, particularly in the United States, according to a survey conducted by communications firm Edelman. The firm found that this "infodemic" is breeding mistrust that could prolong the pandemic. However, India showed the highest level of trust on vaccines, the report stated.
India, with 51% looking forward to taking up the vaccine opportunity immediately and a further 29% within a year, for a total of 80%, recorded the highest level of trust. Hesitancy was most prevalent in Russia, with just 15% of people surveyed willing to get vaccinated as soon as possible and only a further 25% comfortable with the idea of doing so within a year. In the US, it found a total of 59% of people were willing to get vaccinated within a year with just 33% happy to do so as soon as possible.
Across the 28 countries assessed, the survey found that as of November only a little below two-thirds of respondents said they would be willing to take the vaccine within a year.
"This is the era of information bankruptcy," said Richard Edelman, CEO of Edelman.
Edelman said that last week's storming of the US Capitol Hill and the fact that only one third of people are willing to get vaccinated "crystallise the dangers of misinformation".
Albeit a mistrust persists for the government over the vaccines, Edelman found that businesses have emerged as the most trusted institution partly because of the speed at which they
"proactively" developed vaccines in record time. Also boosting trust has been their ability to find ways to work during the coronavirus restrictions. Business is trusted by some 61% of respondents, replacing the government in top spot, which fell from its mid-year top spot and is currently at 53%.
The online survey of over 33,000 people was conducted between Oct. 19 to Nov. 18.
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