Prague The number of people interested in being vaccinated against the Coronavirus has increased by ten percent since the start of the year: Six out of ten Czechs have been vaccinated. A closer look at the data shows that desire increases unevenly. Older, more educated, and higher-income respondents contributed to this increase. On the other hand, younger people under 54 with less education or from smaller municipalities and with lower incomes tend to lose interest compared to fall.
New figures from Daniel Prokop’s continuing research reveal Life During a Pandemic that income is an important variable in the vaccination approach. Compared to September, interest in free vaccination among people living in poverty has decreased dramatically.
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67 percent of Czechs with above-record incomes and even 76 percent of high-income Czechs support the vaccine. In families living below the poverty line, the situation is the opposite – 40 percent reject vaccination and 23 percent are inconclusive.
According to Prokop, one possible reason is the low confidence in the government’s ability to deal with the pandemic and the associated economic impacts. Sociologist Peter Vucic of Masaryk University’s School of Social Studies agrees with this view, which states that alienation from social order and distrust of the institution can be an explanation for the unfortunate phenomenon. “This alienation often affects people in disadvantaged social situations and reinforces the construction of reality in the sense of a very critical approach,” Vucic told Lidovky.cz.
Another reason may be the cost-benefit ratio of vaccination, according to the research author. “The vaccination is free,” Prokop told Lidovky.cz, “but there is a certain burden in the sense of getting there and the like.” The benefit of vaccination, in addition to the health benefits, is, for example, easy access to travel or entertainment, which, however, is not used by everyone. “For example, a single woman from a small town wouldn’t get such a comeback in terms of travel and access to activities, but she would be anxious about her impregnation,” he explains. An easier vacation at the sea or a visit to the theater is not a push for low-income individuals, as these activities have to be denied by Covid-19.
Nonprofit employees who work with these clients have other assumptions. “People from low-income households deal with some ‘here and now’ things. Some of them have no insight into how serious the situation is, that they can get sick as well etc. They often don’t deal with things that might happen because they have other concerns Jan František Krupa, National Director of Social Services in the Salvation Army, believes.
Caritas Health Activities Coordinator, Lyudmila Couchirova, sees diminishing interest in media coverage of some complications after vaccination. According to Kučerová, even a short-term deterioration in health would bring a low-income person to the pavement. The author of the survey confirms that the decline in interest in vaccinations between September and December is due to increased concerns about side effects. Therefore, the focus is on a comprehensive awareness campaign. According to Procup, people living below the poverty line may be more vulnerable to sources of information that benefit from distrust of professionals and government, have no one to consult with, and have less access to or attitude toward doctors. The recording itself, which requires a certain level of digital knowledge, can also be frustrating.
The most important is the approach of communication, for example through practitioners or another close point. He believes that “someone should be given the opportunity to be vaccinated.”
The best advertisement is a personal recommendation, it helps a lot in the elderly. Everyone knows someone who has already been vaccinated, and most people do not face serious negative consequences, and they can share their experience that vaccination was ultimately relatively easy to arrange etc. “If the whisper spreads among the elderly, the message will gain enough momentum,” Prokop concludes, “but the question is whether it will spread to other groups where the personal benefits of vaccination are not so great,” adding that an appropriately targeted campaign is needed. Otherwise, the Czechs may be under the impression that the situation is fine when the vaccine is administered to seventy percent of people over the age of 60. Then people’s willingness to be vaccinated may slow and an incentive will be required.