In the report, we assess the overall state of confidence in vaccines among the public in all 28 EU member states and among general practitioners (GP) in ten EU member states. As vaccine confidence varies by vaccine, confidence is assessed for vaccines in general as well as for the measles and seasonal influenza vaccines, in order to reflect vaccines targeting different population groups. Confidence in (and demand for) vaccines is influenced by a number of factors, including the importance, safety, and effectiveness of vaccines. To examine the extent of public and GP confidence in vaccines, we have conducted the largest ever study on attitudes to vaccines and vaccination in the EU. We report a number of key findings. We find that most age groups under 65 surveyed have less confidence in the safety and importance of both the MMR and seasonal influenza vaccines (and vaccines generally) than over 65’s.
The results of the survey suggest that a number of member states – including France, Greece, Italy, and Slovenia – have become more confident in the safety of vaccines since 2015; while Czech Republic, Finland, Poland, and Sweden have become less confident over the same period. While GPs generally hold higher levels of vaccine confidence than the public, the survey found that 36% of GPs surveyed in the Czech Republic and 25% in Slovakia do not agree that the MMR vaccine is safe and 29% and 19% (respectively) do not believe it is important. We find that the majority of GPs surveyed in these countries report that they are not likely to recommend the seasonal influenza vaccine, yet Czech Republic, Poland, and Slovakia all report to the WHO that they recommend the seasonal influenza vaccine to pregnant women (WHO, Immunization Schedule by Antigens, 2018).
We find a correlation between GP confidence and confidence among the general public in the survey: countries whose GPs hold higher confidence in vaccines tend to have a larger proportion of the public expressing positive vaccination beliefs. We provide rankings of member states by overall level of confidence in the safety of vaccines and provide raw data summaries for each member state.