While most Japanese are willing to get the coronavirus vaccine, skepticism still runs deep
The government is scrambling to begin the rollout of coronavirus vaccinations as early as the end of February. But in a nation where many people are skeptical about vaccines in general, Japan may face a daunting challenge in trying to convince people to get the shots even when they are available.
There is a scientific consensus worldwide that the COVID-19 vaccines are highly effective and that they will help achieve herd immunity — a light at the end of the tunnel.
Polls have shown recently that nearly 70% of Japanese are willing to get a coronavirus vaccine. But still, skepticism against vaccines is deeply rooted in the country.
In a 2016 EBioMedicine study of 67 countries, 31% of Japanese were skeptical of vaccine safety, ranking third-highest following France (45.2%) and Bosnia and Herzegovina (38.3%). The global average was 13%.