The Maltese have registered the highest percentage of people in Europe who would like to get the COVID-19 vaccine “as soon as possible”, a Eurobarometer survey shows.

The survey shows that Malta has the lowest percentage (4%) of people who will refuse getting vaccinated.

The results of the Europe-wide survey tally with a MaltaToday survey, which showed that only 4.3% of Maltese would not be taking the vaccine. The MaltaToday survey also showed that 84% of Maltese would be taking the vaccine when this is made available for them.

The Eurobarometer survey held in December asked respondents when they would like to get vaccinated. 41% of the Maltese replied that they would like to get vaccinated “as soon as possible” while a further 25% would like to be vaccinated some time in 2021. Another 25% were more hesitant saying that they would get the vaccine later on.

The survey shows that more than a third would like to get vaccinated as soon as possible in Malta (41%), Ireland (37%) and Denmark (35%), while at least a third declare that they would never get vaccinated in Bulgaria (34%) and Slovenia (33%).

Eastern European countries register the greatest scepticism on vaccines but hesitancy is also found in western European countries like France where 24% would never get vaccinated also registered the lowest percentage (11%) of respondents who would like to get the vaccine as soon as possible.

Respondents in Malta are the most worried in the EU about a possible COVID-19 infection. While 83% of Maltese are worried of getting infected with the virus, the percentage falls to 54% among all EU respondents. In Portugal, Spain and Italy more than two thirds are worried about getting infected. In contrast only 35% of Czechs and 30% of Slovenes fear infection (30%).

Close to nine in ten in Malta (87%) and more than three quarters in Ireland, Cyprus, Portugal (all 77%) and Luxembourg (76%) agree that the EU is playing a key role in ensuring an access to COVID-19 vaccines in their countries.

Malta was one of four countries in which people trust the national health authorities most in providing them with reliable information on COVID-19 vaccines. But despite their trust in health authorities 53% of Maltese think that public authorities are not sufficiently transparent about COVID-19 vaccines.

While in 23 Member States, respondents are more likely to trust health professionals, doctors, nurses and pharmacists, in Denmark, Sweden, Finland and Malta, they tend to trust more their national health authorities. In Malta 62% said they trust the national health authorities most.

Europeans would be more eager to get vaccinated against COVID-19 if some people have already done so, they see that it works and there are no side-effects (44%) and if there is a full clarity on how vaccines are being developed, tested and authorised (36%).

Despite their eagerness for the vaccine 34% of Maltese still think COVID-19 vaccines are being developed, tested and authorised too quickly to be safe while another 31% tend to agree with this view. In 19 countries at least six in ten agree that COVID-19 vaccines are being developed, tested and authorised too quickly to be safe. The highest percentage of people expressing this view is found in Bulgaria (76%), Latvia and Hungary (both 72%).

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