Heidi Larson runs the Vaccine Confidence Project at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Most recently, Larson and her colleagues published their report for 2016, which involved examining the perceptions of vaccine importance, safety, effectiveness and religious compatibility among 65,819 people across 67 countries. Some of the results were expected, others counterintuitive. (Larson HJ, de Figueiredo A, Xiahong Z, et al. The State of Vaccine Confidence 2016: Global Insights through a 67-Country Survey. EBioMedicine. 2016 764. Doi: 10.1016/j.ebiom.2016.08.042).
Not surprisingly, the authors found that the most positive views of vaccines occurred among those older than 65 years of age. Among faith groups, Roman Catholics had the most positive sentiment (despite the concern that some vaccines are made using cells from elective abortions), while the Western Pacific Region had the lowest level of religious compatibility with vaccines.
The European Region had the lowest confidence in vaccine safety, with France the least confident globally (41 percent of respondents in France disagreed with the statement that vaccines are safe). Bangladesh, Iran and Ecuador reported the highest agreement that vaccines are important, while Russia, Italy and Azerbaijan reported the most skepticism about the importance of vaccines.
Finally, the authors found that while education could influence perceptions of vaccine importance and effectiveness, it didn’t influence perceptions of vaccine safety. In summary, the authors found that vaccine confidence was high, but clearly different among countries.