JUST OVER HALF of people in Ireland would take a Covid-19 vaccine if there was one, according to a new survey.
The survey, conducted by Ipsos MRBI for the Irish Pharmaceutical Healthcare Association (IPHA) found 55% would take the vaccine, while 33% said they were unsure. 12% of respondents said they would not take a vaccine.
The World Health Organisation has said 44 candidate vaccines are in clinical evaluation with 10 of those at the final Phase Three clinical stage. This stage involves trials with hundreds of thousands of people.
Results from a number of these vaccine trials have been encouraging and some are aiming to file for authorisation as early as November.
The survey from IPHA revealed 60% of men would take the vaccine while half of women said they would take it. The age group most likely to take the vaccine were the over-65s, followed by people aged between 35 and 44.
Younger people were the least likely to take the vaccine, with 19% of those aged between 25 and 34 and 18% of those aged between 18 and 24 saying they would not take it.
The survey involved 975 telephone interviews with adults aged over 18.
Oliver O’Connor, chief executive of IPHA, said the world is still some distance from an approved vaccine for Covid-19, but there is “cause for hope”.
“Although all of us want to see the back of the pandemic, it is not about how fast we can get a vaccine. What matters is that it is safe and that it works,” he said.
“These are the priorities for our industry, working with the regulatory agencies. We must move at the speed of science. We would encourage the public to get their vaccinations, especially now that we are in flu season.”
It can typically take 10 to 15 years to bring a vaccine to the market. The fastest-ever – the vaccine for mumps – needed four years in the 1960s.
Speaking to TheJournal.ie recently, Dr Fidelma Fitzpatrick, consultant and senior lecturer in microbiology at the Royal College of Surgeons (RCSI) said the pace has been “unprecedented”. She said there has never been such an intense focus on the development of a vaccine all across the world.
Fitzpatrick said she acknowledged some people may be wary of getting a new vaccine – and one that has been developed so quickly.
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“Knowledge is power here. I always say to people to go and read the facts for themselves, go to reliable sources to inform yourself when you’re making a decision,” she said.
There has never been a time when the entire world has been so focused on one type of vaccination programme so there will be huge scrutiny of the safety of these vaccines. The whole point of the Phase Three trials is to find any rare side effects that wouldn’t come through in the Phase One and Two trials.
“This isn’t going to get a free pass, there’s too much to lose, the entire world is looking at it so the regulators aren’t just going to push things through.”