Misinformation, mistrust and public hesitancy to take a coronavirus vaccine could undermine the fight against Covid-19, British scientists said, warning that the UK may not meet the threshold of vaccine uptake to protect the community.
If a vaccine is released, 80% of the population will likely need to be vaccinated to offer widespread protection, according to a report published Tuesday by The British Academy and The Royal Society.
But it found that around 27% of people in Britain felt uncertain about receiving a Covid-19 vaccine, while 9% said they were "very unlikely" to be vaccinated.
The report urges the UK government to address public concerns over vaccine safety and efficacy. But in order to ensure such widespread uptake, scientists have urged the British government to tackle the public's concerns about vaccines.
"To achieve the estimated 80% of uptake of the vaccine required for community protection, we need a serious, well-funded and community-based public engagement strategy," said Professor Melinda Mills, the report's lead author.
"There needs to be a frank conversation with the public about just how long it will take and that things will not immediately go back to normal when vaccines arrive."
She added: "We must learn from lessons of history and move away from the one-way provision of information and instead generate an open dialogue that addresses misinformation and does not dismiss people’s real vaccine concerns and hesitancy."