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US acceptance of COVID vaccines rises, now like other Western democracies

Despite the controversy, the US’s vaccine acceptance looks very European.



Enlarge (credit: Luis Alvarez)

COVID vaccines remain the safest way to reduce the chance that SARS-CoV-2 can put you in the hospital and are therefore a critical component of the public health campaign against the pandemic. Yet, in the US, there has been lots of controversy and outright anger about attempts to expand the use of vaccines, and a substantial portion of the population appears to be avoiding the shots for political reasons.

The extreme polarization of the US’ politics hasn’t gone away, and the controversy seems to be fresh in some politicians’ minds, so it’s easy to expect that the vaccine hesitancy isn’t going away. But an international survey on COVID vaccine attitudes suggests that the US has seen a large boost in COVID vaccine acceptance and now has attitudes similar to other westernized democracies. Elsewhere in the world, the survey reveals clear regional patterns in vaccine acceptance, although there are oddities everywhere.

Becoming typical

The survey started out back in 2020 as a series of questions about whether people intended to get vaccines once they became available. In the intervening years, the people performing the survey have added several nations (it’s now up to a total of 23) and shifted the questions to account for the availability of vaccines, addition of boosters, and development of treatments for COVID-19. In all 23 countries, the survey involved a pool of 1,000 participants who were generally reflective of the country’s population.

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