Yonder COVID-19 tracker, December 2020

Owen Thomas - Director

New Yonder polling conducted among 2,103 UK adults on 16-17 December 2020 (before the Prime Minister’s announcements of additional restrictions on Saturday 19 December) has found that:

  • Approval of the UK Government’s response to COVID-19 has reached the lowest point of 2020.
  • 57% want to take a COVID-19 vaccine and will take a vaccine as soon as they are offered to (including some who have already done so). But a third of the UK adult population (34%) don’t want to take the vaccine. This includes 13% that do not want to take the vaccine and will do what they can to avoid it.
  • 6% think “a COVID-19 vaccine may cause autism in children”, 6% think “a COVID-19 vaccine includes a microscopic microchip”, and 9% think “a COVID-19 vaccine will change the DNA of those who are given the vaccine”.
  • The Government and NHS face a considerable communications challenge in 2021 – to assuage the concerns regarding the vaccine’s safety and potential side effects that are held by a significant proportion of UK adults at the end of 2020.

Low approval of Government handling of COVID-19

  • Approval of the UK Government’s response to COVID-19 has reached the lowest point of 2020. 29% say it is performing well in response to COVID-19 and 50% say it is performing poorly, meaning a NET approval rating of -21.
Figure 1: Yonder COVID-19 tracker – net approval ratings
  • Views of Boris Johnson, the Conservative Party, Keir Starmer and the Labour are all also negative, with more people saying each of these is handling COVID-19 poorly than those saying they are handling it well.
  • Although a minority (18%) think the “UK Government has spent too much money on its response to the pandemic”, many more UK adults (50%) agree that “the UK Government has wasted money in the response to the pandemic and is not providing the UK taxpayer with value for money”.
  • This sense that the taxpayer is not getting value for money seems to be strongly linked with the Test & Trace system. Just one-in-ten (11%) agree “the UK’s Test & Trace system has provided the UK taxpayer with value for money” and nearly two-thirds (63%) disagree.
  • More broadly, only 17% are satisfied with the UK Government’s Test & Trace system, with 59% saying they are dissatisfied.

COVID-19 vaccine a source of national pride

  • After Gavin Williamson – the Secretary of State for Education – said that the UK was “a much better country” than others that had not yet approved a COVID-19 vaccine, a quarter of the public seem to agree. 24% of the UK public agree that “the UK was the first country in the world to clinically approve a COVID-19 vaccine because the UK is better than every other country around the world”.
  • 52% agree “it should be a source of national pride that the UK was the first country in the world to clinically approve a COVID-19 vaccine”. Just 17% disagree.

Most are willing to take a COVID-19 vaccine but concerns are common

  • 58% agree “COVID-19 vaccines used in the UK are safe”, but 25% think they have “been developed too quickly to be safe”. Those that believe the vaccines used in the UK are safe are overwhelmingly likely to say they want to be vaccinated. On the other hand, those that believe vaccines are being developed too quickly to be safe are very unlikely to be so willing.
  • 57% want to take a COVID-19 vaccine and will take one as soon as they are offered (or have already done so). This figure rises to 82% of those aged 65 and over, and 87% of those aged 75 and over. However, only 44% of 18-34s and 48% of 35-54s say they want to take the vaccine and will do so as soon as they are offered it.
  • A third of the UK adult population (34%) don’t want to take the vaccine. This includes 13% that do not want to take the vaccine and will do what they can to avoid it, as well as another 21% that don’t want to take it but who will if they are asked to by the NHS.
Figure 2: Yonder COVID-19 tracker – will you take a COVID-19 vaccine? Why not?
  • Of the third of adults who don’t want a vaccine, the most common reasons given are having too little knowledge of side effects, knowing too little about the vaccine and the vaccination process, thinking they are not in a priority group, and concerns about the vaccine’s safety.
  • Of the adults that will do what they can to avoid being vaccinated, 28% say that is because they think COVID-19 has been exaggerated or is a hoax.
  • While 57% of UK adults expressing their willingness to be vaccinated is a positive starting point, the Government and NHS face a considerable communications challenge in 2021 – to assuage concerns regarding the vaccine’s safety and potential side effects that are held by a significant proportion of UK adults at the end of 2020.

Vaccine conspiracy theories are circulating among a small minority

  • 6% think “a COVID-19 vaccine may cause autism in children”. Only 37% say they know this is false, with many others being unsure or only suspecting it is false.
  • 6% think “a COVID-19 vaccine includes a microscopic microchip”. 62% say they know this to be false.
  • 9% think “a COVID-19 vaccine will change the DNA of those who are given the vaccine”, while 49% say they know this is false.

Yonder interviewed 2,103 UK adults (aged 18+) online between 16 and 17 December 2020. Quotas and weights were employed to ensure the sample was demographically representative of the UK adult population.

Yonder is a business consultancy that blends insight, strategy and imagination to help clients unlock opportunity and deliver business impact. Launched in October 2020, Yonder brings together the expertise of four specialist businesses; the award-winning research and consultancy of Populus, the state-of-the-art data capture of Populus Data Solutions, the brand and business strategy of BrandCap, and the insight-led innovation of Decidedly.

For more information, please contact hello@yonderconsulting.com

Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on email
Email
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on facebook
Share on email