14 Feb 2021

Covid-19: NZ females more likely not to get vaccinated

From Sunday Morning, 5:10 pm on 14 February 2021

A survey quizzing New Zealanders about Covid-19 has found 70 percent are willing to be vaccinated against the virus, with more men than women prepared to be vaccinated.

Empty vials of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 disease vaccine are displayed at the regional corona vaccination centre in Ludwigsburg, southern Germany, on January 22, 2021.

Photo: AFP

Research NZ polled more than 1000 New Zealanders over the age of 18 asking them whether they were prepared to be vaccinated, why or why not and whether they were following the recommended Covid-19 health guidelines.

"Seventy percent stated they were willing to be vaccinated against Covid-19, at the other extreme 10 percent said categorically that they were not and in the middle quite a large percentage at 20 percent said that they were unsure," Research NZ partner Emanuel Kalafatelis said.

He said older people and males were more willing to be vaccinated.

"In fact females, two thirds 64 percent said that they would be willing to be vaccinated compared to 76 percent of males and most of those females who didn't say they were willing to be vaccinated are sitting in the unsure box."

In terms of the reasons given for getting a vaccination, Kalafatelis said 69 percent of people who said they were willing to be vaccinated said it was the best way to protect themselves from getting Covid-19.

"Interestingly a similar percentage, 67 [percent] said they were going to be vaccinated or wanted to be vaccinated in order to protect others from getting Covid-19."

Others said a high proportion of the population needed to be vaccinated to achieve herd immunity, while another reason given was that the benefits of having the vaccination outweighed any of the downsides, Kalafatelis said.

Kalafatelis said within days of the poll being run the government announced that it would run an information campaign to try and achieve greater uptake of Covid-19 vaccination.

He said the number one concern for 73 percent of the females who were unwilling to be vaccinated is "what they see as the potential long-term effects of the vaccine".

Many of the 20 percent of respondents who said they were unsure about the vaccine are waiting to see its effect.

"If we go back to the group who are definitely not willing to be vaccinated, that's the number two reason why they're not willing to be vaccinated - they're basically just saying 'oh we'll wait and see how the vaccine has effected those who have had it'."

The survey suggested most people were following good handwashing and coughing and sneezing practices to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

Kalafatelis said 92 percent of respondents said they were washing their hands frequently, 88 percent said they were coughing or sneezing into their elbow, while 87 percent said they were staying home when they were unwell.

But he said there were lower percentages of people who were wearing a mask on public transport and using a tracer app.

"Just over one half of our total respondents said they were wearing a mask on public transport, 57 percent, and a little bit over two thirds, 68 percent, said that they were always keeping track of where they were either by using a tracer app or keeping a record of their visit."

He said Aucklanders were doing better than the rest of the country with 82 percent of them saying they were wearing a mask on public transport and 76 percent of Auckland respondents saying they were keeping track of where they had been.