Vaccine Hesitancy and Brexit/Green Voting Linked

Vaccine Hesitancy and Brexit/Green Voting Linked February 28, 2021

This is some interesting research. There is a link to being a Brexiteer and being hesitant to take a Covid vaccine. But, even stronger than this correlation is the new agey sort of anti-vax stance so that Green Party members are even more likely. iNews reports:

People who voted for Brexit are less enthusiastic about having a coronavirus vaccine, new research suggested yesterday.

survey by YouGov for Oxford University showed Remainers are nearly 7 percentage points more likely to have the jab than people who voted Leave in the 2016 referendum, 93.8 per cent compared to 87.1 per cent.

Green Party voters are the least likely to take up a vaccine, a likelihood of 79.4 per cent, while people who voted for the Brexit Party in 2019 were 86.4 per cent likely to have the jab.

By contrast, those who vote for mainstream parties are more likely to have the vaccine: 92.9 per cent for Conservatives, 93 per cent for Labour and 98 per cent for the Liberal Democrats.

There is some really good news in this, though:

However all respondents were generally more likely to take up the jab than they were five months ago.

Age was a strong predictor of vaccine willingness, with older people more likely to have the jab than younger groups. People on lower incomes were on average less willing to have a vaccine.

Being the self-reflective person I am, it makes me wonder whether there are other groups that should make me wary about throwing causal links/correlations to certain groups around in a negative fashion.

Lo and behold…

Vaccine hesitancy is also lower, as the British Medical Journal (BMJ) states in a recent piece, with ethnic minorities. The rationale makes for interesting reading:

Reasons for vaccine hesitancy

This has serious implications. The pandemic continues to have a disproportionate effect on people from ethnic minorities, with higher covid-19 morbidity and mortality and greater adverse socioeconomic consequences.10 Without an effective vaccination strategy to mitigate the risks, the situation will worsen. Moreover, the differential uptake will further exacerbate pre-existing health inequalities and marginalisation of ethnic minority groups.

Vaccine hesitancy, characterised by uncertainty and ambivalence about vaccination, is a legitimate viewpoint, underscoring the failure or lack of effective public health messaging. People who are hesitant can still be convinced of the vaccines’ safety, efficacy, and necessity,11 and, most importantly, they are not “anti-vaxxers.” Vaccination rates are also lower in population groups that change address frequently, making NHS records inaccurate, which is common among people from ethnic minorities.12

The most common reasons for hesitancy are concerns about side effects and the long term effects on health,2 and lack of trust in vaccines, particularly among black respondents.5 Some have capitalised on these concerns to spread misinformation,11 adding to the historical mistrust of government and public health bodies that runs deep in some ethnic minority groups.

Trust is eroded by systemic racism and discrimination,10 previous unethical healthcare research in black populations,13 under-representation of minorities in health research and vaccine trials,9 and negative experiences within a culturally insensitive healthcare system.10 The disregard for non-Christian religious festivals has further undermined trust. Residential segregation, a form of systemic racism, affects health and access to resources to enhance health in multiple ways, creating conditions that amplify mistrust.10 Segregation is rising in Europe, and in the UK the Bangladeshi and Pakistani communities are the most segregated.14 Ethnicity intersects with socioeconomic status and educational attainment, accentuating the effects.10 14 Access barriers, including location of vaccine delivery and time, are other factors that could aggravate the disparities in uptake.

Do am I holding to double standards in thinking less of Brexiteers and new agey anti-vaxxers?

NOTES:

2. Office for National Statistics. Coronavirus and the social impacts on Great Britain, 29 Jan 2021. https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/healthandsocialcare/healthandwellbeing/bulletins/coronavirusandthesocialimpactsongreatbritain/29january2021.

5. Robertson E, Reeve KS, Niedzwiedz CL, et al. Predictors of COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy in the UK Household Longitudinal Study. medRxiv 2021:2020.12.27.20248899. [Preprint.] https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.12.27.20248899v1

9. UK Government Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies. Factors influencing covid-19 vaccine uptake among minority ethnic groups, 17 December 2020: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/factors-influencing-covid-19-vaccine-uptake-among-minority-ethnic-groups-17-december-2020

10. ↵Razai MS, Kankam HKN, Majeed A, Esmail A, Williams DR. Mitigating ethnic disparities in covid-19 and beyond. BMJ 2021;372:m4921. doi:10.1136/bmj.m4921 pmid:33446485

11. ↵Mills M, Rahal C, Brazel D, et al. COVID-19 vaccine deployment: Behaviour, ethics, misinformation and policy strategies. Royal Society, British Academy, 2020.

12. ↵Osama TMA. Vaccine hesitancy in the era of the COVID-19 pandemic. Br J Gen Pract [forthcoming].Google Scholar

13. ↵Gamble VN. Under the shadow of Tuskegee: African Americans and health care. Am J Public Health 1997;87:1773-8. doi:10.2105/AJPH.87.11.1773 pmid:9366634

14. ↵Brady D, Burton LM. The Oxford handbook of the social science of poverty. Oxford University Press, 2016.


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