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COVID-19 vaccine: To jab or not to jab?

On 14 December 2020, PM Lee officially announced that the COVID-19 vaccine would be made free and voluntary to all Singapore residents. 

Despite this announcement, many Singaporeans seem to feel uneasy about the vaccine. We find that 68% of Singaporeans will be taking the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as it is available, but close to 1 in 4 Singaporeans (24%) say they will not take the vaccine. The rest (8%) are still undecided. 

Older Singaporeans appear more reluctant, as 29% of those aged 50 and above say they will not get the vaccine once it is available (versus 19% of the 15-24-year-olds). Likewise, younger folks are more undecided on the vaccine compared to other age groups; 14% of 15-24-years-old say they do not know if they will get the vaccine. Access to the vaccine has been prioritised for vulnerable segments and those working in emergency services. When asked if they would be willing to pay extra to get ahead of the queue, only 19% of Singaporeans say they would do so, while 27% would not pay extra and simply wait for their turn. Curiously, men would be more willing to do so than women (24% versus 14%). 

These findings show that Singaporeans are not entirely convinced of the vaccine’s safety or efficacy. The Singapore government will have to work hard to dispel any doubts if it wants its nationwide vaccination campaign to mark the beginning of its post-pandemic recovery.