Scientists recently studied the relationship between trust in science as a society and its effect on individual confidence in vaccines.
The hesitation in the face of the Covid-19 vaccine could cause thousands of additional deaths. This delay in the acceptance or rejection of vaccines, despite their availability, could cause mortality up to 8 times higher over a period of 2 years, warns the Imperial School of London. In this regard, the key to trust in vaccines lies in people’s trust in science as a society, a new study suggests.
Previously, other studies have investigated the relationship between individual confidence in science and vaccines. However, the study published in the journal Nature Human Behavior focused on how individual confidence relates to the confidence that a country or society has in science.
The study authors underscore the effort it takes to think about the right, wrong, benefits, risks, and dangers of a vaccine when you are not familiar with the subject. Faced with this situation, people turn to trust (or mistrust) in science and look to the attitudes and behaviors of others for signs to determine what is expected and accepted. Through these informal impressions of how science is valued or questioned, individual assessments of the reliability of science are shaped by the study notes. These impressions can come from social interactions, representations in the media, and cultural and political debates.
For their study, the researchers used data from the most extensive vaccine trust survey, the Wellcome Trust Monitor 2018, with more than 120,000 respondents in 126 countries. This survey shows high levels of confidence in science worldwide, coupled with relatively high confidence in vaccines. In particular, trust in science is highest in North America, Western Europe, and Australasia and lowest in South America, Eastern Europe, and Africa, the authors note.
In this regard, the Pew Research Center pointed out, 19% of American adults then declared having received at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine. Another 50% said they plan to be vaccinated, adding 69% of Americans who intend to receive the vaccine or have already received it. Among the remaining percentage of those who do not want to be vaccinated, they list various reasons: concerns about side effects (72%) and the feeling of too rapid development of vaccines (67%). They also mentioned a desire to know more about how well it works. As of May 18, the United States has 37% of its population fully vaccinated, according to the statistical tool Our World in Data.
Faced with the risk of more deaths from Covid-19 due to mistrust in vaccines, there is a need to understand the mechanisms behind people’s trust in science and vaccination. As the data suggests, countries must inform their citizens and encourage confidence in science and their societies as a whole.

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