Coronavirus and vaccine hesitancy, Great Britain: 17 February to 14 March 2021

Hesitancy towards the coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine, based on the Opinions and Lifestyle Survey covering the period 17 February to 14 March 2021.

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Contact:
Email Jodie Davis, Chris Shine, Bonang Lewis and Tim Vizard

Release date:
1 April 2021

Next release:
To be announced

1. Main points

Positive vaccine sentiment has increased to 94% in the latest period (17 to 21 March 2021), from 78% when the data were first collected (10 to 13 December 2020).

Previous published analysis on vaccine hesitancy by different population groups covered the period 13 January to 7 February 2021. This analysis has been updated and covers the period 17 February to 14 March 2021. Based on adults in Great Britain, we found:

  • more than 9 in 10 (94%) adults reported positive sentiment towards the vaccine, while 6% of adults reported vaccine hesitancy; this decreased from 9% in the previous period, with this trend observed across most groups

  • around 1 in 8 (12%) adults aged 16 to 29 years reported vaccine hesitancy; this decreased from 17% in the previous period, however, this remained the highest of all age groups

  • around 1 in 5 (22%) Black or Black British adults reported vaccine hesitancy; this proportion has decreased from the previous period (44%)

  • around 1 in 9 (11%) parents living with a dependent child aged 0 to 4 years reported vaccine hesitancy; this decreased from 16% in the previous period

  • around 1 in 8 (12%) adults in the most deprived areas of England (based on Index of Multiple Deprivation) reported vaccine hesitancy, compared with 3% of adults in the least deprived areas of England; these rates have decreased from the previous period (16% and 7% respectively)

Statistician’s comment

"Over the past few months, we have seen attitudes across most of the population becoming more positive towards Covid-19 vaccination. However, there is still hesitancy among some groups, including young people, Black or Black British and those living in the most deprived areas”

Tim Vizard, Public Policy Analysis, Office for National Statistics

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The estimates are from a sample of adults and may differ from the latest official data on the number of adults who have received the COVID-19 vaccination. It does not include adults living in care homes or other establishments.

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2. Coronavirus (COVID-19) and vaccine hesitancy data

Coronavirus and vaccine hesitancy, Great Britain
Dataset | Released 1 April 2021
Estimates of vaccine sentiment with breakdowns by different population groups. Analysis based on the Opinions and Lifestyle Survey (OPN).

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3. Measuring the data

Vaccine sentiment

"Vaccine hesitancy" refers to adults who:

  • have been offered the vaccine and decided not to be vaccinated

  • report being very or fairly unlikely to have the vaccine if offered

  • responded "neither likely nor unlikely", "don't know" or "prefer not to say" to the question "if a vaccine for the coronavirus (COVID-19) was offered to you, how likely or unlikely would you be to have the vaccine?"

It should be noted that a small number of respondents reported "prefer not to say". This response is considered to represent those unsure about the vaccine.

"Positive sentiment" refers to adults who:

  • have received the vaccine

  • have been offered the vaccine and waiting to be vaccinated

  • report being very or fairly likely to have the vaccine if offered

The Opinions and Lifestyle Survey (OPN) is a monthly omnibus survey. In response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, we have adapted the OPN to become a weekly survey used to collect data on the impact of the coronavirus on day-to-day life in Great Britain.

The survey results are weighted to be a nationally representative sample for Great Britain, and data are collected using an online self-completion questionnaire. Individuals who did not want to or were unable to complete the survey online had the opportunity to take part over the phone.

Where differences between groups are presented in this bulletin, associated confidence intervals, which are included in the associated datasets, indicate their significance.

Estimates in this bulletin are rounded to the nearest whole number. Where individual answer categories for a question have been combined to provide an estimate, this total may not appear to sum to the total of individual categories because of this rounding.

Sampling

A sample of households was randomly selected from those that had previously completed the Labour Market Survey (LMS). From each household, one adult was selected at random but with unequal probability. Younger people were given higher selection probability than other people because of under-representation in the sample available for the survey. The survey also includes a boosted sample for England, to allow more detailed analysis at a regional level, which is available in the datasets.

The pooled data comprises four waves of data collection covering the following periods: 17 to 21 February, 24 to 28 February, 3 to 7 March, and 10 to 14 March 2021, and included 17,201 adults aged 16 years and over in Great Britain. Pooling four waves of data together increases sample sizes, allowing us to explore vaccine sentiment for different groups of the population.

Weighting

Survey weights were applied to make estimates representative of the population.

Weights were first adjusted for non-response and attrition. Subsequently, the weights were calibrated to satisfy population distributions considering the following factors: sex by age, region, tenure, highest qualification and employment status. For age, sex and region, population totals based on projections of mid-year population estimates for March 2021 were used. The resulting weighted sample is therefore representative of the Great Britain adult population by a number of socio-demographic factors and geography.

Statistical significance

This bulletin presents a summary of results, with further data including confidence intervals for the estimates contained in the associated datasets. Where comparisons between groups are presented, 95% confidence intervals should be used to assess the statistical significance of the change.

Quality

More quality and methodology information on strengths, limitations, appropriate uses, and how the data were created is available in the Opinions and Lifestyle Survey Quality and Methodology Information.

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Contact details for this Statistical bulletin

Jodie Davis, Chris Shine, Bonang Lewis and Tim Vizard
policy.evidence.analysis@ons.gov.uk
Telephone: +44 (0)300 0671543