However, there are rumours that may raise concerns, such as the idea that tens of thousands of sharks are being killed to make one of the ingredients (not true for any of the UK vaccines), or that the vaccines will alter your DNA (no they won’t).
So, is this putting people off having a COVID-19 vaccine?
To find out more about vaccine hesitancy, we asked users of the ZOE COVID Symptom Study to answer the question “Would you accept a COVID-19 vaccine if offered one?”
Here’s what we found.
Explore our interactive hesitancy map
95% of ZOE COVID Symptom Study app users would have a COVID-19 jab
Over a million people responded to our survey, with nearly 95% saying ‘yes’ they would have a vaccine, 4.5% being ‘unsure’ and almost 1% answering ‘no’.
This ‘yes’ figure is higher than other studies that have explored attitudes to vaccination - such as the OCEANS study which found that 72% of people would have a COVID-19 jab - and probably reflects the fact that ZOE app users are more likely to be engaged with science and research than the general population.
Even so, it’s reassuring to know that so many people are willing to have a COVID-19 vaccine to protect themselves, their loved ones and the wider community to help end the pandemic.
Key worries are health effects and a lack of knowledge
For people who said they were unsure or wouldn’t have a vaccine, we then offered a range of reasons for them to select:
Digging deeper into the data, we found that users who identified as Black were more likely to be hesitant than people from other ethnic backgrounds, as were people from more socially deprived areas, and that people aged 18-50 were more likely to be hesitant than those who were older.
People aged 18-25 were more likely to say that they felt the vaccine was unnecessary or unlikely to be available for them compared with other age groups, while those over 80 were most concerned about having a reaction to the jab.
For men, the fourth most common reason for hesitancy after long term effects, reactions or lack of knowledge, while pregnancy or breastfeeding was the fourth reason for women, followed by concerns about availability.
What can we learn from this survey?
It’s reassuring that so many app users are willing to get vaccinated against COVID-19 to help end the pandemic. And it’s important to know the reasons why some may be unsure or don’t want a vaccine at all.
Getting as much of the population vaccinated is going to be key to ending this pandemic sooner rather than later. To support this mission, we’re helping to address concerns around short and long term health effects of the vaccines through the ZOE COVID Symptom Study app - the world’s largest community-led study of COVID-19 vaccines in the world.