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French vaccine hesitancy rates among highest in EU

News   •   Jul 14, 2021 07:00 BST

Fewer than 50% of people in France are likely to take the COVID-19 vaccination, according to Eurofound’s large-scale Living, working and COVID-19 online survey. In February and March 2021, just 48.7% replied that they were likely or very likely to get vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus when it becomes available to them. This is considerably lower than the EU average at 64.4% with only Bulgaria, Latvia and Croatia scoring lower than France.

The third round of the unique pan-EU survey was fielded in February and March 2021 and the analysis provided in the report and background data for the latest round is based on a sample of 46,800 responses, and an overall sample of 138,629 across all three rounds. It sheds light on the social and economic situation of people across Europe following nearly a full year of living with COVID-19 restrictions.

The recently published report Living, working and COVID-19 (Update April 2021): Mental health and trust decline across EU as pandemic enters another yearfinds that men (29%) are more vaccine hesitant than women (25%). For France, the gender difference is a lot smaller, as 39% of male respondents and 38.5% of female respondents reported being unlikely to take a COVID-19 vaccine.

France also scored relatively low levels of trust in various institutions. In spring 2021, trust in the EU stood at 4.6 out of 10, below the level recorded in summer 2020 (5.1) and similar to the level recorded in spring 2020 (4.5). Despite a lower-than-average score in France (4 in early 2021), the country is among a group of Member States – such as Spain, Italy and Portugal – where trust in the EU remains higher compared to the same time a year earlier (3.8).

Eurofound’s Working Life Highlights 2020 for France found that the French government’s measures to address the impact of the COVID-19 crisis included a massive recourse to short-time working and an increase in aid for companies, self-employed people and people in precarious situations, which were generally welcomed by the social partners. According to the Living, working and COVID-19 survey, there was an increase in the proportion of people combining working from the employer’s premises and from home in spring 2021 in France and other western Member States such as Austria and Finland.

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