On 12 March 2021, in a virtual workshop, the CAREC Institute jointly with the Public Opinion Research Institute (Kazakhstan) shared findings of population polls about public attitudes towards vaccines in seven CAREC countries: Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Pakistan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.
Results suggest that, across seven countries, on average 65% of the surveyed population would get vaccinated, the most popular argument being “I want to protect my family.” Some 35% are skeptical about vaccines, with large differences among countries. People do not trust COVID-19 vaccines out of safety concerns, disregard of danger, or disbelieve in vaccines. Results also show that some 73% of the surveyed source information from people around them and TV programs. However, those who rely mostly on social media for COVID-19 information are less likely to be ready for vaccination. The most trusted source for medical advice is doctors and nurses by far. Their preparation for vaccination campaigns should be given particular attention. Some 86% of the respondents of the poll trust them.
The workshop participants discussed the methodology of the research, juxtaposition of findings, analysis of the context, and suggestions for public outreach campaigns to conduct successful vaccinations which shall lead to reopening of the economy and post-COVID-19 recovery. Some of the recommendations included sharing positive experiences of countries where vaccination is already more advanced, sharing experiences of COVID-19 patients, reaching out to people with education levels below the secondary education, and using the family protection argument to convince people to take part in COVID-19 vaccination.