Irish confidence in vaccine effectiveness climbs to 91%

Irish confidence in vaccines has risen since the start of the Covid pandemic, with 91% of Irish people saying they believe vaccines are effective, a 12 point jump since the last attitudinal assessment in 2019.

The Ipsos survey also found that a high proportion of people are concerned about misinformation about vaccines, with ‘user-generated online content’ cited as the least trusted source of information, as it appears on social media sites.

“Four in five people, or 80%, believe there is misinformation about vaccines – up 15 points from shortly before the pandemic,” the survey, carried out for the Irish Pharmaceutical Healthcare Association ( IPHA).

The survey also revealed that almost a third of people, or 31%, think there is not enough information available about vaccines.

Only 9% of respondents rely on social media sites for vaccine information, compared to 91% who trust doctors and nurses.

“They are followed by scientists and vaccine specialists at 85%, pharmacists at 81% and official health websites at 77%,” the study found.

“A third of people, or 33%, trust mainstream media for accurate vaccine information.”

Politicians were trusted by 13% of people.

Of those surveyed, 57% had been vaccinated against other illnesses, including influenza, mumps, rubella and whooping cough.

“It is likely that Covid-19 has raised public awareness of the role of vaccines in improving health,” said Bernard Mallee, director of communications and advocacy at IPHA.

The deployment of Covid vaccinations continues this week with in particular the first doses for young children and reminders for those over 12 years old.

Uptake among under-12s has been slow with just 93,300 vaccinated out of a total of 480,000 – or 19% – up to March 14.

This is significantly less than for 12-19 year olds, with 420,700 of these children now fully vaccinated. However, less than 25% of this group took the booster.

100% of over 70s boosted

Department of Health data also shows that 100% of those over 80 are boosted, as are those aged 70-79.

Recall figures for young adults are expected to rise as the three-month waiting period since a large number of Covid infections ended at Christmas.

Currently 56% of 30-39 year olds are boosted, and 69.5% of 40-49 year olds.

There were 1,175 Covid-19 patients in hospitals on Sunday, the highest number since February last year as the number of cases continues to rise.

This included 49 people in intensive care with more patients on general wards receiving oxygen support.

Sara H. Byrd