Continent of skeptics: Europeans are reluctant to be vaccinated

In Europe there are particularly many of these skeptics in a global comparison – and their number has even increased since the beginning of the pandemic nine months ago. Interestingly, the reluctance is particularly pronounced in some countries where the virus was raging: in France, for example, according to a survey by Imperial College London, only 35 percent want to be vaccinated; in Spain only 41, in Sweden 44. Even in Austria, traditionally skeptical of vaccinations, according to the University of Vienna, it is only a third who want to have their upper arm stabbed straight away. In May it was 48 percent.

Why is that? There are several explanations. Even before the pandemic, the willingness to vaccinate was different in many countries – in France, for example, vaccine skepticism has long been widespread, as there have been several scandals about political influence and lobbying in vaccination campaigns. In Austria it is the fear of side effects or the lack of fear of an illness that arouses the skepticism. Politics is also given as a reason for refusal – namely, vaccination skepticism also has to do with political attitudes. According to the opinion research institute Market, especially FPÖ supporters and politically indifferent people reject the vaccine, while ÖVP and Neos voters are much more open.


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