At the same time, a total of 23% of citizens do not support the COVID-19 vaccination
DEMOSCOPE Bureau of Express Monitoring of Public Opinion conducted the polling on Kazakhstanis’ Attitude to Coronavirus Vaccination. From 27 to 30 April 2021 1,100 people from Nur-Sultan, Almaty, Shymkent and 14 regions of Kazakhstan were the participants of the poll. The poll was conducted in the Kazakh and Russian languages through telephone calls to landline numbers.
47% of women and 53% of men over 18 y.o. answered the questions.
For this sample, the maximum size of the statistical error with a probability of 95% does not exceed 3%.
According to the experts, mass vaccination against coronavirus in Kazakhstan is proceeding at a slow pace. According to the Ministry of Health, about 1.5 million citizens – 15% of the population – got the first component.
At the Government meeting, the Prime Minister Askar Mamin said that it is necessary to increase the rate of vaccination, especially in rural areas. One of the key factors that significantly affect the rate of vaccination is public confidence in the quality and safety of vaccines.
According to the DEMOSCOPE Bureau survey, since the beginning of the pandemic, 34% of citizens have changed their opinion in favor of vaccination. Moreover, 30% of respondents have always been for immunization. Thus, a total of 64% were in favor of the coronavirus vaccine.
In turn, 23% of citizens do not support vaccination, 9% of which have changed their minds since the beginning of the pandemic, and 14% have always been against vaccines. It is interesting to compare the findings with the similar DEMOSCOPE survey conducted in November 2020. Then only 14% of citizens expressed their readiness to take the vaccine at the earliest opportunity, and 33% were ready to get vaccinated only after all the examinations and tests.
Probably, the increase in the level of citizens’ confidence in vaccination was influenced by the positive experience of those who have already received the vaccine against COVID-19, as well as the published scientific data confirming the safety of vaccines.
The survey results show that the majority of Kazakhstanis (59%) are positive about vaccination and believe that this is the only effective way to protect themselves from coronavirus. 23% expressed a neutral position, they are convinced that vaccination will not fundamentally change the situation. On the contrary, 12% of respondents believe that vaccination will only aggravate the situation.
The attitude of Kazakhstanis towards vaccination is directly correlated with the rate of immunization of the population. According to DEMOSCOPE, a total of 40% have either already received the vaccine (14%) or are planning to be vaccinated in the near future (26%). 21% of respondents admit the possibility of vaccination, but only after evaluating its effectiveness. A third of the survey participants – 32% do not plan to receive a vaccine.
The respondents who chose this option were asked to name the reason for refusing vaccination. The most common reason for refusal (14%) is existing contraindications. 4% of respondents fear grave consequences; 4% do not trust vaccination and believe that the coronavirus and the vaccine were invented; 3% have already had CVI.
At the moment, 3 vaccines are available to the Kazakhstanis: Sputnik-V, QazVac, Hayat-Vax. The choice of the vaccine and the rate of mass vaccination is obviously influenced by the information field. The greater volume of information about the Russian one as well as the information war apparently predetermine the citizens’ positive attitude to it.
As part of the DEMOSCOPE survey, Kazakhstanis’ rating of trust to vaccines produced in different countries was compiled. Russian Sputnik-V tops the rating. 62% of Kazakhstanis consider this one to be of the highest quality. The domestic vaccine QazVac is in second place with 12% of votes. The least popular among Kazakhstanis were AstraZeneca, Pfizer, which gained 2% and Sinovac – 1%. At the same time, the rather low position of the domestic vaccine may indicate both the initial phase of implementation and the flaws in the government’s communication strategy.
Also, the citizens were asked to name the most unsafe vaccine. Sinovac Biotech is in the lead in a kind of anti-rating with 11% of votes; 8% of respondents do not trust AstraZeneca, 6% – Pfizer and 5% expressed distrust in QazVac. 66% found it difficult to answer this question.
Assel Musabekova, PhD, a molecular biologist and virologist, scientific popularizer, believes that in order to increase the rate of immunization, in fact, vaccines are needed, for which there is sufficient data and clear communication based on scientific data. According to the expert, a justification is necessary for any decision.
DEMOSCOPE research data also convincingly demonstrates that public perceptions of COVID-19 vaccination are primarily influenced by the level of awareness of citizens and the effectiveness of information policies.
The telephone survey was carried out by KT Cloud Lab LLP.
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The project is implemented by MediaNet International Centre for Journalism Public Foundation with the support of Konrad Adenauer Foundation Office in Kazakhstan.
The survey data reflect the views of respondents.
Additional information: Snezhana Tsoy, firstname.lastname@example.org.