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Potential COVID-19 vaccine uptake rises to 77%

24 May 21

Credit: nzherald
Potential COVID-19 vaccine uptake rises to 77%
Potential vaccine uptake rises to 77%

The number of New Zealanders aged 16 and older who will potentially get a COVID-19 vaccine has increased to 77% from 69% in March 2021.

A Horizon Research survey of 1,387 respondents, aged 16 or older, between 23 April and 2 May 2021 finds:

  • Overall, 3,147,200 out of the estimated 4,082,500 New Zealanders aged 16+ say they are likely to get vaccinated or have already been vaccinated. 
  • Māori potential uptake is now at 71%, up from 64% in March 2021.
  • Pasifika potential uptake has increased to 79%, up significantly from 59% in March 2021.
  • Those aged 65+ continue to be more likely to get a vaccine than other age groups.
  • The number of Māori and Pasifika respondents who were unsure if they would take a vaccine has dropped since March 2021 (from 18 to 12% and 32 to 9% respectively).
  • If the vaccine is made available for 12 to 15-year olds, 56% of caregivers are likely to allow the children they care for to be vaccinated.
  • While those who identified as disabled are more likely to be unsure about getting a vaccine, they are less likely to reject getting vaccinated than the overall population.  

Barriers to uptake

  • Those who are unlikely to have a vaccine if offered has dropped to 12% from 20% in March 2021. Of those, 7.8% will “definitely not” get a vaccine, slightly lower than previous surveys.
  • The highest percentage of people unlikely to get vaccinated are in Group 4, at 14%, with another 13% unsure.
  • The main reasons for being unsure or unlikely to get a vaccine are concerns about long-term effects, safety and waiting to see if others have side effects. 
  • 11% of those who are unsure or unlikely to get a vaccine say they have had a bad experience in the past when taking a vaccine.
  • 15% of respondents are unsure if they have to pay for the vaccine and 4% believe they do have to pay for the vaccine. This has decreased since March 2021. 
  • DHB regions where the likelihood for respondents to accept a vaccine is lower than the national average include Waikato, Lakes, Tairawhiti, Whanganui, Hutt, Wairarapa, West Coast and South Canterbury. (Lakes, Tairawhiti, Whanganui, Hutt, Waiarapa, West Coast and South Canterbury DHB sample sizes were less than 50, in line with their population proportion, so results are less statistically reliable and should be treated as an indication only.)

Making the decision to get a vaccine

  • The key factor that would convince people to get the vaccine is that it is proven effective and guaranteed safe with no major side effects. 
  • In making the decision to get a vaccine, people think about potential side effects, what might happen if they have an adverse reaction, how the vaccine will affect their health and that it is too soon see if there are long-term side effects.
  • People who live with impairments or long-term health conditions and those who identify as disabled are more concerned than average about whether the vaccine will adversely affect their existing medical conditions and symptoms and whether it will leave their health worse overall.

Influencing uptake

  • The Director General of Health (41%) and the Prime Minister (34%) have significantly more impact than TV or radio personalities (14%), sports stars (16%) and other well-known/high profile people (17%) in influencing people to get vaccinated. 
    • Each of these potential role models will have significantly less impact on Māori than on other ethnicities.
    • Influencers will be most effective on those who are likely to get vaccinated and possibly help reinforce their decision. 
  • Those who live with impairments or long-term health conditions and those who identify as disabled are more likely than average to respond to a personal conversation with a health provider they trust when it comes to influencing their decision. 

Confidence in and knowledge about the vaccine

  • Brand of vaccine will impact the decision of one in six (an estimated 557,500) of those who are either likely to get a vaccine or are unsure. 
    • Most of those who say brand will impact their decision to accept a vaccine were concerned about potential blood clotting caused by vaccines.
  • 26% of respondents say they know what the side effects will be after taking a vaccine.  Asked what they thought the side effects of the vaccine were:
    • 29% said blood clots (noting that while the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is not prone to blood clotting, it should not be assumed that people know that)
    • aching, flu-like or cold-like symptoms (28%)
    • localised pain or soreness (23%).  
  • Approximately 50% of respondents do not know what the side effects of the vaccine are. 
  • Just over half of respondents (57%) believe that people who have been vaccinated can still get COVID-19.
  • Just under half of respondents (44%) believe that people who have been vaccinated can still pass on COVID-19 to others. 36% are unsure. 
  • Overall, the number of people who are concerned about whether or not the vaccine has gone through extensive, properly conducted, medical trials has dropped to 36% from 60% in December 2020. 

Communication and information 

  • Of those who have already received a vaccine, 97% felt they received enough information about their vaccination.
  • People who need to be assured about the vaccine’s safety want more information on:
    • side effects and risks particularly in relation to blood clots
    • the long-term effects of the vaccine based on longer and/or more clinical studies (particularly for those who are unlikely to get vaccinated).
  • More than other ethnic groups, Asian and Indian respondents said social media posts and what other people say would impact decision on whether to take a vaccine. 
  • 38% had encountered what they believed to be misinformation.  
    • The main sources were social media (65%) followed by friends or family (32%) then mainstream media (25%).
    • 61% who had seen misinformation indicated they would look for official information to verify it. 
    • 9% of those who had seen something they thought was misinformation would not get a vaccine if the misinformation they saw actually alarmed them; this increases to 15% for people who identify as disabled.

Horizon undertook the survey for the Ministry of Health in association with Auckland University's School of Population Health.