Volatility in Vaccine Support Highlights Looming Covid Challenge

Volatility in Vaccine Support Highlights Looming Covid Challenge

Radically different opinions around the world on the safety, effectiveness and importance of vaccines highlight the challenge facing health officials once a Covid-19 shot arrives.

In countries such as South Korea, Indonesia, Pakistan and Poland, confidence in vaccines has declined in recent years, according to a study published Thursday in The Lancet medical journal. Although support for inoculations in Europe remains low compared with other regions, there are signs that trust is rising in Finland, France, Italy, Ireland and the U.K., the report found.

The authors said they believe their research — based on more than 284,000 adults surveyed in 149 countries between 2015 and 2019 — is the largest effort to date to measure global faith in vaccines.

Political instability and religious extremism in several nations are fueling skepticism, while the spread of misinformation threatens to disrupt vaccination programs worldwide, the study found. Declining confidence can lead to delays and discourage people from getting shots, contributing to outbreaks of diseases including measles, polio and meningitis.