Britons back vaccine drive as economic symptoms worsen

New research finds an increasing number of Britons plan to be vaccinated, as households feel the strain on budgets and incomes.
28 January 2021
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Luke Taylor

Head of Opinion Polling, Public Division, UK

Grace Lown Author

Head of Public Affairs, Public Division

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Our latest barometer on British public opinion and voting intentions finds that over seven in ten plans to be, or already has been, vaccinated; support for 24-hour vaccination appointments; and increasing numbers reporting finding it harder to meet their monthly household budget.

Findings from Kantar’s research, which took place between 21 and 25 January, include:

  • Over seven in ten (77%) say they have already got, or would definitely/probably get, a COVID-19 vaccine. In December 2020, 65% of people said they would definitely/probably do so.
  • Less than one in five (17%) of people say they definitely/probably would not plan to be vaccinated, compared to 23% in December 2020.
  • Almost half of Britons (49%) think the vaccine should be mandatory, compared to 40% who think adults should be able to choose whether to have it.
  • Almost four in ten people (39%) say it is harder for them to meet their monthly household budget than it was 12 months ago, the highest figure since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, compared to 31% last month and 32% in April 2020.
  • Over four in ten (42%, +2) state that coronavirus has reduced their personal income. Of that group, 27% expect this reduction to be permanent (+5).
  • When asked about their job security, almost four in ten (38%, +2) of those in work feel that their job is less secure than a year ago.

Attitudes towards vaccination and the roll out

Compared to last month, when 65% of people said that they would be vaccinated, there has been an increase in the proportion of the public who say they have already or would plan to be vaccinated (to 77%). 

Among those who plan to get vaccinated:

  • Over two thirds (67%) say that they would be prepared to be vaccinated at any time of day or night, any day of the week. 27% say they would only attend if it was at a reasonable time of day that suited them.
  • Older people are more likely to say they would be prepared to be vaccinated at any time of the day or night: 74% of those 55 and over compared to 53% of those aged 18-34.
  • People prefer GP surgeries and pharmacies as vaccination venues (88% and 78% respectively), compared to hospitals (66%) and mass vaccination centres (65%).

Of the 17% in Britain who say they wouldn’t get vaccinated:

  • 38% state safety concerns. Women are much more likely than men to give this as a reason (54% vs 23%).
  • 30% say they do not trust the intentions of those creating the vaccines.
  • 23% say they want more information before they decide. Women are much more likely to say this: 31% of women, compared to 14% of men.

Over six in ten (61%) are very/somewhat satisfied with the rollout of the vaccine by the government and health authorities, and 63% would support the government using supermarket infrastructure (e.g. cold storage, nationwide distribution networks) to roll out the vaccine.

Life under lockdown

Against a backdrop of growing unrest with lockdowns on the continent, the British public report continued compliance towards restrictions on everyday life under the lockdown.

  • Almost nine in ten (89%) say they are following the current lockdown restrictions very/somewhat carefully, compared to 6% of people who say they are not very careful or not at all careful in following the restrictions.
  • There appears to be high levels of stated understanding of the lockdown restrictions and how they apply to people personally, with 87% of people saying they understand them fully or to some extent.
  • Younger people are the most likely to say they don’t understand very much/at all, with over one in five (21%) of 18-24-year-olds saying so, compared to an average of 9%.

The most common reasons given by people not always managing to follow lockdown rules are “my mental wellbeing” (38%), “I have needed to support a family member or friend” (25%), “the rules are confusing or vague” (25%), and “lockdown has gone on for long enough/bored of restrictions” (18%).

Impacts of Brexit and kitchen table economy

Following the terms of the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement being ratified by UK Parliament at the end of 2020, the public are expecting an impact on their everyday lives:

  • A majority expect their regular food shop to become a bit/much more expensive as a result of Brexit (68%), compared to 5% who think it will become a bit/much cheaper.
  • Over four in ten people (43%) say they are more likely to buy British produce as a result of Brexit, compared to 5% who say they are less likely to, and 37% who say there has been no change

42% (+2) report that their income has reduced due to COVID-19. In comparison, over half (51%, -2) of Britons report to have not had their income impacted or their income has increased – indicating the potential scale of differences in financial impacts across British society.

Voting intentions

  • Con 40% (+2 vs December 2020)
  • Lab 37% (no change)
  • L Dem 10% (nc)
  • Green 5% (nc)
  • SNP 4% (-1)
  • Reform UK (Brexit) 2% (-1)
  • UKIP 1% (nc)
  • PC <0.5% (-1)
  • Other 1% (nc)

Methodological information

The survey data and further details on the methodological approach can be found here.

A total of 1,100 interviews were conducted online among adults living in Great Britain between 21 and 25 January 2021. All interviews were conducted as online self-completion. The Kantar online access panel was the main sample source.

The data was weighted to match population totals for age, gender, 2019 General Election voting patterns, 2016 EU referendum voting patterns, education, region, and likelihood to vote in the next General Election. Any use of this research must cite Kantar as the source.

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