Herd immunity from covid19 may be farther off than hoped according to the data supplied by the Market Facts and Opinions’ Consumer Economic Study 2021.
Based on a random sample of 973 people in Trinidad and Tobago between April 14 to May 3, only about 35 per cent of the population are willing to get the covid19 vaccines once they become available. Meanwhile, 20 per cent were undecided and 45 per cent were reluctant.
Responding to urgent questions in the Senate on Tuesday morning, Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh noted that for TT to achieve herd immunity, it requires 60-70 per cent of a country’s population to be vaccinated, approximately 700,000 people. He said the country could achieve herd immunity against the covid19 in “six to seven months.”
However, if only 35 per cent of the population are willing to take the vaccine, heard immunity by the end of the year seems unlikely.
The study went on to say, “Persons aged 65 and older age cohort (possibly high comorbidity groups) are more likely than any other age group to express interest in getting the vaccine. Young persons are the most hesitant about taking the vaccine, indicative of social media (home of misinformation) influence and individualistic ways (lack of social norms).”
It added that those most interested in getting the vaccine live in the Couva/Tabaquite/Talparo area, while those least interested live in the North Central and Central areas.
“Media announcements of two deaths, including that of Minister Franklin Khan, shortly after being inoculated created the sharpest dip in feelings of doubt about being vaccinated. The cohort in favour of taking the vaccine appears fragile and showed little growth over the period. At the end of the survey period, there was the announcement of further restrictions, this caused spikes in reported responsible behaviour, possibly reflecting public fear. However, there was no correlation between this fear and the desire to get vaccinated."
It further broke down participants into three groups.
The Advocates, about 24 per cent, were most optimistic about getting the vaccine and believes the government is doing its best to get vaccines. The demographic is 45-64 years old, of African decent, and affluent.
The Uncertains, about 37 per cent, were undecided about getting the vaccine and were least likely to believe the government is doing its best to secure vaccines. That demographic is East Indian and male.
The Reluctants, about 40 per cent, who were least likely to get the vaccine but acknowledge the efforts that the government has made to secure them, were female.
In addition, half of respondents believed the government is doing its best to secure vaccines for the country, and nine out of ten people who said they would get vaccinated, agreed that they would continue wearing masks.