1 in 3 people in Germany do not want coronavirus vaccine, study finds

1 in 3 people in Germany do not want coronavirus vaccine, study finds

Germany has been vaccinating its population against COVID-19 since the end of last year - and in the meantime, the number of people who have died in connection to the virus has risen to more than 68.000 - but despite this, many people are still sceptical about vaccinations, a new study has found. 

One-third of people in Germany would reject COVID-19 vaccine

A new survey commissioned by the Bertelsmann Foundation has discovered that a substantial proportion of the German population has reservations about coronavirus restrictions in general and specifically the coronavirus vaccine.  

Accordingly, a third (33 percent) of those surveyed said that they rejected interventions in personal freedoms to fight the pandemic “somewhat” or “completely”. 34 percent also said that they do not want to be vaccinated at all, the representative survey found, compared to 66 percent who are willing.  

For the survey, the Norstat Institute surveyed more than 1.000 adults in Germany during the last week of November 2020. 

BioNTech / Pfizer vaccine most popular in Germany

However, popular attitudes towards vaccinations can be tricky to measure, because developments in politics and science, as well as public discourse, repeatedly influence the opinions of respondents. While other surveys have found vaccine willingness in Germany to be similarly low, a recent survey by SPIEGEL found that a much higher proportion of the population were prepared to receive a vaccination: 74 percent. 

The type of vaccine on offer clearly plays a role. In the SPIEGEL survey, participants attached importance to being able to receive a vaccine of their choosing, with the BioNTech / Pfizer vaccine receiving the highest approval rating. 

The AstraZeneca vaccine, on the other hand, is not nearly so popular. Amid reports of its lower efficacy and anecdotal evidence of more severe side effects, reports have surfaced in recent weeks of thousands of AstraZeneca vaccine doses going unused in Germany, with people cancelling their appointments and opting to wait instead for a different vaccine. Germany is still debating what to do with these leftover vaccine doses. 

Coronavirus crisis exacerbating tensions in society

Yasemin El-Manouar, one of the study’s co-authors, said that the coronavirus crisis was exacerbating conflicts of values already bubbling under the surface in society. 82 percent of the survey’s respondents said that the pandemic was highlighting the need for profound change in society; around 45 percent said that the crisis could also have positive effects - for example for climate protection and social interaction. 

El-Manouar said politicians in Germany needed to make it clearer that individual freedoms are still of crucial importance for society - and that these restrictive measures are limited in time and are leading towards the goal of being able to “lead a free and self-determined life again as quickly as possible.” 



Abi Carter

Abi studied History & German at the University of Manchester. She has since worked as a writer, editor and content marketeer, but still has a soft spot for museums, castles...

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