Suffolk survey finds 84% willing to have Covid-19 vaccine

Doctor Parikh with the Pfizer vaccine at Constable Country Medical Practice.  

A survey in Suffolk found 84% were willing to have a Covid-19 vaccine - Credit: Charlotte Bond

A survey of people in Suffolk has indicated that 84% will be willing to have a Covid-19 vaccine - below the national level expected.

BMG Research quizzed 1,400 people across the county for a survey on coronavirus in February and March, as part of a commission by Suffolk Resilience Forum and the county council.

That survey aimed to collate thoughts on vaccines, how willing people are to comply with restrictions, testing and self-isolating and communication of key coronavirus updates.

On vaccines, 84% said they are likely or very likely to take up a Covid-19 vaccine as soon as they are eligible - below the 90% national figure.

Health and council leaders at last month's Local Outbreak Engagement Board meeting said work was already underway to address vaccine hesitancy concerns.

Andrew St Ledger

Andrew St Ledger from Suffolk County Council said more focused messaging to address Covid vaccine hesitancy was needed - Credit: Suffolk County Council

Andrew St Ledger, head of communications at Suffolk County Council said: "That [84%] is comparable to or slightly below the national figure, which as of the 7th [of March] was 90%. This was a point in time and I think the very strong vaccination figures shows that when it comes to it people are making a decision to get vaccinated, and that is a positive.

"Of those that said they were not likely or not likely at all, the main reasons were being worried about the side effects, vaccine testing and rollout being delivered too quickly or they don't think the vaccine is safe. 

"That shows us that is something we need to focus our messaging and service delivery on."

Richard Watson, deputy chief executive for the three CCGs said he was pleased to see the year-on-yea

Richard Watson from Suffolk's clinical commissioning groups - Credit: IESCCG

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Richard Watson, deputy chief executive of Suffolk and North East Essex clinical commissioning groups, said it was recognised that they were "never going to convince everyone" to take a jab but were were working to address misconceptions. More analysis of the figures currently taking place will help inform targeted work with particular cohorts who have a higher level of hesitancy too.

"One of the main things we are trying to do with our clinicians, particularly our GPs, is speaking on a one-to-one basis to try and understand  some of the concerns our communities have got and try to put some of their minds at rest," he said.

Public Health Suffolk said there areas of work already identified, such as among carers or young people who had concerns about the impact of the vaccine on fertility.