21.12.2021 - by Davide Rigoni
Sapience reveals the reasons of vaccination hesitancy in the Belgian population.
ICense assesses people’s attitude towards Covid-19 vaccines in a research that is meant to support the Governments’ effort to proceed with their vaccination plans.
The Research Foundation – Flanders (FWO) commissioned the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) and its spin-off iCense to conduct a survey to assess Belgian citizens’ reasons for being or not being vaccinated.
The preliminary results of the study show that:
Most Belgians have a positive attitude towards the vaccination or are willing to get vaccinated (around 85% in total);
Almost 50% of the citizens who have not been vaccinated yet, do not intend to be vaccinated in the future. Only about 33% of the unvaccinated plan to get vaccinated in the future;
Most refusers do so out of fear of side effects and because they do not trust the information provided by the media.
Most Belgians believe that the vaccine is effective in lowering the risk of contracting the covid-19 and that vaccination is the best way to return to a pre-pandemic lifestyle. Yet, around one third of the Belgian population has serious concerns about the side effects of the vaccine.
“With our research now we know what is behind this vaccination hesitancy. The insights we collected provide policy makers with key information to effectively tackle resistances and strengthen Governmental plans to fight against the current pandemic”, said Dr Davide Rigoni, CEO at iCense.
The questionnaire set up by iCense, in collaboration with VUB, aims at revealing how people perceive the vaccination and what really drives their decision to be vaccinated or not.
“Since the start of the pandemic - says Prof Timothy Desmet, co-CEO at iCense - we have seen a dichotomy in the population, there is an ingroup which is in favor of the vaccines, and an outgroup, which is against the vaccine. Through this study, we understand both groups and what drives them much better. After this, we will investigate how unvaccinated people can be convinced to still be vaccinated”.
The study also shows that clearly stopping vaccines in certain countries has seriously damaged confidence in vaccines and undermined vaccine readiness in Belgium. Therefore, to effectively proceed with the vaccination programs there is need to extend the scope of the survey to all EU citizens, by assessing people’s hesitancy towards covid-19 vaccines across all the member states.