The development of vaccines against COVID-19 and their global access are a priority to control and hopefully end the current worldwide pandemic . However, the success of this strategy strongly relies on people’s trust in this immunization: What if people refuse the shot? This is not a rhetorical question: the most recent studies found that 37% of the French population would refuse the vaccine. The main reason for this refusal was the fear that the vaccine would not be safe and refusal was strongly correlated to political attitudes. The objective of this project is to monitor the French population’s attitudes toward a COVID-19 vaccine during the next year, until, and if possible, after it is made available, as well as their evolution and their determinants (including socioeconomic status, attitudes toward science and health authorities but also vaccine-critical mobilisations), with a focus on their potential politicization. We assume that hostile attitudes toward this vaccine may reflect VH in specific groups of people, while in other groups, they may be rooted in anti-vaccination and/or conspiracy feelings. Moreover we will monitor whether such attitudes remain associated to political views, especially to the extremes of the political game.
We will mainly rely on repeated cross-sectional surveys conducted among the French general population. We plan to conduct five cross-sectional surveys among representative samples of the French adult (aged 18+) population according to the following design: first and last surveys with a quite long questionnaire in a sample of 2,000 participants, (months 0 & 12); three other surveys with a shorter questionnaire and a smaller sample (N=1,000; at months 3, 6 & 9). This original design is very likely to evolve, especially according to the epidemic and political context and the marketing of a future COVID-19 vaccine. We will combine these surveys with other data: another quantitative survey carried out among French GPs in the Fall of 2020 (n>3300) , the evolution of the public’s queries on Google between Fall 2020 and Fall 2021, and data collected on Twitter during the same period. The latter will enable to integrate the activist mobilizations that arise around the COVID-19 vaccine, how they politicize the vaccine and their respective capacity to reach a wide audience.
This project will involve a consortium of researchers with great experience of working on vaccine hesitancy. Our proposal fits primarily in the theme of Ethics & social dynamics, and it deals more particularly with representations, perceptions, attitudes, behaviors related to the epidemic. Moreover, our project will produce relevant knowledge to design politics aiming at improving the population’s willingness to get immunized against the COVID-19 and propensity of GPs to recommend it (theme Infection prevention and control).
Our project aims to combine operational objectives with longer-term scientific objectives. In the short term, the aim is to set up and make available to the authorities a monitoring of French population’s attitudes toward a vaccine against the COVID-19, as well as their determinants, in order to contribute to design strategies aiming at improving adherence to this vaccine, and to avoid the precedent of the vaccination campaign against H1N1 flu in 2009-2010. Regarding longer term scientific objectives, we expect this project will help us improve our knowledge and understanding of contemporary VH. Beyond VH, it will also contribute to the analysis of the contemporary shift toward the politicization of public health issues as well as the complexity of attitudes toward science.
Monsieur Jeremy Ward (CERMES 3 CENTRE DE RECHERCHE MEDECINE, SCIENCES, SANTE, SANTE MENTALE, SOCIETE)
The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.
VITROME Vitrome – Vecteurs – Infections Tropicales et Méditerranéennes
UVE Unité des Virus Emergents
CERMES 3 CENTRE DE RECHERCHE MEDECINE, SCIENCES, SANTE, SANTE MENTALE, SOCIETE
Help of the ANR 149,787 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: January 2021 - 12 Months