Why are some people refusing to take a potentially life-saving vaccine against COVID-19? In Germany, 19.6% of the population is unlikely or very unlikely to have the jab when it is offered to them, according to a recently published study supported by the Institute, the Swiss Academies of Arts and Sciences and the kENUP Foundation.

COVID-19 vaccine scepticism is mainly driven by the fear of long-term health damage (66%), the fast approval process (54.7%) and the fear of adverse health side effects (53%).This scepticism is correlated with the denial that COVID-19 is a worldwide infection or that it causes serious adverse health effects.

Published in February 2021, the study sheds light on what could become an obstacle to successfully completing the ongoing COVID-19 vaccination campaigns. Anti-vaccination sentiments are highest in Europe compared to other regions in the world, potentially undermining vaccination and herd immunity efforts.