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Poll: Finns and Danes more positive about coronavirus vaccine than others in Europe

Denmark and Finland had Europe's highest levels of vaccine acceptance and approval of government pandemic efforts.

A Covid-19 vaccination point at a shopping mall in Lappeenranta, eastern Finland, on Friday. Image: Kalle Purhonen / Yle

People in Finland and Denmark are more willing to get the coronavirus vaccine than other Europeans, according to a 32-nation study.

In Denmark, 87 percent of respondents said they would certainly or possibly take the vaccine, followed by Finland where the share was 81 percent. The two countries showed significantly higher acceptance levels than others in Europe.

For instance, in Italy 70 percent said they might take the vaccine, while the figure in Germany was 65 percent, in France just 44 percent, and in Serbia just 38 percent.

The survey was coordinated by the Milan-based Worldwide Independent Network of Market Research (WIN). The Finnish part of the survey was carried out by polling firm Taloustutkimus in December.

Attitudes can shift quickly

Hanna Nohynek, Chief Physician, Infectious Disease Control and Vaccinations at the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL), says that a vaccination level of at least 70 percent is necessary to attain herd immunity.

She points out that scepticism or a critical view of vaccinations is different from an outright anti-vaccination stance, which she says is found among less than one percent of Finland’s residents.

Nohynek says that people’s attitudes toward vaccinations can change quickly.

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Hanna Nohynek, head of Infectious Disease Control and Vaccinations at the Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) Image: Anna Savonius / Yle

“Someone can say something and do something else. When a coronavirus death strikes close to them, they may suddenly start thinking completely differently,” she told Yle.

The survey of nearly 27,000 people was done across 32 countries in December. In Finland the poll sample included 651 respondents.

The rate of acceptance here is significantly higher than that in a recent THL survey, which indicated that just 64 percent of Finnish residents were willing to take a Covid-19 jab.

Nohynek said she was not surprised by the difference in results, attributing it to different timing and wording of the question.

Overall, 71 percent of those polled said they would definitely or possibly take a coronavirus vaccine, while 29 said they would possibly or definitely not take it.

Men tended to be slightly more willing to take the jab than women. People with lower levels of education and the unemployed expressed less willingness to be vaccinated.

Vietnam, China and India showed by far the highest levels of acceptance. More than 90 percent of respondents in all three countries said they would take the vaccine. Finland was among the top 10 countries out of the 32 included.

Finland and Denmark also Europe's highest in gov't approval

The survey also asked respondents how satisfied they were about how their own governments had worked to control the pandemic.

Those in Vietnam – where just 35 deaths have been attributed to Covid-19 – gave their government 100 percent approval, followed by China at 99 percent approval.

In Europe, the highest levels were again in Denmark (77 percent) and Finland (75 percent). In comparison only 15 percent of those in Poland were satisfied, while in Spain the support level was 26 percent.

The margin of error is estimated at 3.5 percentage points.

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