Covid-19: Quarter of Northern Ireland’s unvaccinated population unlikely to ever get the jab

Polling done by the NI Statistics and Research Agency has shown that a significant chunk of Northern Irish people who have yet to be vaccinated do not wish to avail of the jabs at all.

Thursday, 29th July 2021, 3:44 pm
Updated Friday, 30th July 2021, 1:05 pm
Some of the signs held aloft by demonstrators in Belfast decrying 'Covid treason'

The polling from NISRA was done via phone between late April and July, involving almost 1,850 respondents.

Anyone who was unvaccinated at the time of interview (roughly 22.2% of those surveyed) was asked how likely it was that they will eventually get a jab.

In all, 76% indicated they were “likely” to – but 24% said that they were unlikely to.

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That would work out at being 5.3% of the adult population.

But once children are taken into account the figure will likely be significantly higher – at least that is what work done in Britain by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) suggests.

According to a survey it ran in April and May in England, 11% of parents of primary school kids said they either definitely or probably don’t want them vaccinated; 46% said they were “unsure... but probably yes”.

For parents of secondary school children, the definitely-or-probably-not figure was 12% and the “unsure... but probably yes” figure was 35%.

In another poll done by the ONS, the agency surveyed people across Great Britain between July 14 and 18.

It polled people who had not been offered a vaccine (or didn’t know or wouldn’t say if they had been offered one).

Those results showed only 13% of respondents would be unlikely to take the vaccine, roughly half the rate in Northern Ireland (though the sample size was small – only 90 people).

Those in the Northern Irish survey who were unlikely to get vaccinated were asked why, and most respondents came back with a variation on the same theme – the drugs may be useless or harmful.

>> The most common reason was they were “worried about the side effects” (57%);

>> The next was that they had “worries about the long-term effects” (56%);

>> The next most common answer was they wanted to “wait to see how well the vaccine works” (50%)

>> And the fourth most common was “they did not think it will be safe” (44%)

>> In addition, 12% of respondents said they were against vaccines in general.

NI’s Department of Finance (in charge of statistics) said they do not have breakdowns of vaccine uptake by race or class – unlike the ONS.

Its survey work in Britain shows black people are far more likely than whites or Asians to be “hesitant” about vaccines (18%, compared with 4% of whites and 3% Asians).

It also showed class had a major impact too; 8% of respondents in the most deprived parts of England were “vaccine hesitant” compared with 3% in the least deprived.

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