Croatians who don’t want to get vaccinated think that the danger of Covid-19 is small and are more inclined to hesitate or refuse the vaccine, according to a study in the Croatian Medical Journal, Jutarnji list writes on Monday.
The authors of the study entitled "Determinants and reasons for indecision about the vaccine against Covid-19 in Croatia" are sociologists Dragan Bagic from the Faculty of Philosophy in Zagreb and Adrijana Suljok and Branko Ancic from the Institute for Social Research, and was created as part of the Croatian Science Foundation project, “Resilience of the Croatian society due to the CovidD-19 pandemic.”
The aim of the study was to determine who refuses to be vaccinated and why they do not want to be vaccinated, and the study was conducted on 765 respondents.
More than a third of respondents were hesitant or definitely refused to be vaccinated against Covid-19. Most often, the reasons given were the fears of whether the vaccine is safe and indeed effective enough. In addition, the reasons given are the preference for natural immunity, such as overcoming the disease over being vaccination, but some of these respondents, who are hesitant or suspicious, also express distrust in vaccines in general.
The study showed that younger respondents, women, respondents with a lower level of education and respondents from small towns and villages are more prone to hesitation or refusal of vaccines, and similar studies have shown similar studies.
"These are the groups to which the campaign should be directed, taking into account the reasons for their hesitation, i.e. refusal to vaccinate, but also the level of (dis) trust they express in certain institutions as potential communication channels. It should certainly be borne in mind that some of these citizens cannot be influenced, or are less likely to change their minds. Our study also showed that respondents who express distrust in science are more prone to hesitation/rejection of vaccines," said Šuljok.
She believes that the term anti-vaxxers is not appropriate for all those who are hesitant or refuse to be vaccinated against Covid-19, because some of them do not express doubts about vaccines in general.
By labelling everyone, including those who are primarily afraid of this vaccine because it is new, developed by an accelerated procedure, as an anti-vaxxer we are actually pushing them towards this group of “real” anti-vaxxers and conspiracy theorists, which can have negative consequences through increased resistance to "regular vaccines", points out Šuljok.
She claimed that the public health campaign failed to convey the message about the danger of the virus to some citizens, which was contributed by dissonant tones coming from the Government's Scientific Council.
“We also failed in an attempt to encourage citizens to get vaccinated, calling primarily for solidarity with the slogan “get vaccinated, think of others,” not taking into account that citizens have different social values, including individualistic ones, and that the willingness to show solidarity is waning over time due to pandemic fatigue,” concluded Šuljok.