Nurses simulate the administration of a coronavirus vaccine during a training session at Royal Free Hospital in London on 4 December 2020. The vaccine is to start rolling out this week in the United Kingdom. (Yui Mok – AFP/Lehtikuva)

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A SURVEY COMMISSIONED by Helsingin Sanomat has found that only 56 per cent of Finns would be prepared to get vaccinated against the new coronavirus early next year if a vaccine approved by health care officials has become available.

Over one-fifth, of 22 per cent, of respondents said they would not get vaccinated while 23 per cent said they do not yet know whether they would or not.

The readiness to get vaccinated against the virus is high especially in older age groups, with 83 per cent of over 70-year-olds stating that they would take the vaccine and only four per cent that they would not. Almost three-quarters, or 72 per cent, of 60–69-year-old respondents told that they would get vaccinated and only 10 per cent that they would not.

The interest was noticeably lower in younger age groups, with 37 per cent of under 30-year-olds saying they would not take the vaccine. Almost two-fifths (39%) of 31–39-year-olds said they would take the vaccine, while 28 per cent of respondents in the age group said they would not.

Almost two-thirds (63%) of men expressed their willingness to get vaccinated early next year, compared to 48 per cent of women.

“There’s room to hope for better,” Hanna Nohynek, a chief physician at the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL), admitted to Helsingin Sanomat.

Surveys by THL, she pointed out, found last spring that roughly 70 per cent of the population would be prepared to get vaccinated against the virus. People do not necessarily act in accordance with their survey responses, however.

“That people get more and more information about the disease and vaccine could also ave an impact,” she said. “We have to provide evidence-based information to citizens in an understandable form.”

When asked how large a share of the population would have to take the vaccine to achieve herd immunity, she reminded that it depends on how many have developed an immunity by contracting the virus, how long the immunity lasts and how effective the vaccine is in terms of the disease and its communicability.

“If no one is immune, the vaccine provides a 100-per-cent protection and no one follows any coronavirus instructions, then 62–70 per cent would have to take the vaccine,” she estimated.

Reservations about the vaccine were prevalent especially among supporters of the Finns Party, 38 per cent of whom said they would take and 40 per cent they would not get vaccinated against Covid-19. Supporters of the National Coalition and Social Democrats were found at the other end of the spectrum, with over 70 per cent of them saying they would take the vaccine at the beginning of next year.

The survey was conducted by Kantar TNS between 27 November and 3 December.

Prime Minister Sanna Marin (SDP) revealed to YLE on Sunday that she, her husband and soon-to-be three-year-old daughter will all get vaccinated once the vaccine has become available.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT

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