Why do Georgians not want to vaccinate?
Note: This post first appeared on the Caucasus Data Blog. It was written by Dr. Tsisana Khundadze, a Senior Researcher at CRRC Georgia. The views expressed in this post represent the author's alone, and do not represent the views of CRRC Georgia, NDI, or any related entity.
With two kinds of vaccines against COVID-19 already available in Georgia, the public’s attitude towards vaccination is becoming more and more important. So why are Georgians so sceptical of coronavirus vaccination?
While willingness to get vaccinated against COVID-19 was not high even in June or December 2020, it is logical to suppose that hesitation would only have increased after the unfortunate case of a young nurse passing away shortly after receiving the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine on 18 March.
As the data from February 2021 CRRC/NDI survey shows, even before this incident, in February, only around a third of Georgians were willing to be vaccinated against COVID-19, with the largest concern being related to the quality of the vaccine.
The CRRC/NDI telephone survey from February 2021 showed that while around 40% of Georgians think that the government’s plan for COVID-19 vaccination is effective, the rest either thinks that it is not effective or are not sure about the plan. When asked about actually vaccinating against COVID-19, only 35% of Georgians said they will vaccinate, while a majority (53%) reported they would refuse.
When it comes to the reason why people are hesitant to be vaccinated, a lack of trust in the quality of COVID-19 vaccinations dominates. Also, 1 out of 5 people who are not willing to vaccinate, think that we can handle the pandemic without vaccination. Some of the people who are not willing to vaccinate also attribute their decision to health-related issues.
Besides these reasons, 1 out of 20 vaccine-hesitant Georgians said they are generally against vaccination or believe that vaccination has alternative goals.
Note: Question was asked only to those who did not say they would vaccinate.
Who is most sceptical of vaccination?
In order to better understand Georgians’ attitudes towards COVID-19 vaccination and the reasons for hesitance, a regression model was run. The analysis showed that men were around 1.3 times more likely to say they would vaccinate than women. People over 54 were again 1.3 times more likely to say they would vaccinate than younger people. People with higher than secondary education were around 1.5 times more likely to be willing to vaccinate than those with secondary technical or secondary education.
Regression analysis also showed that Georgian Dream supporters were 1.5 times more likely to say they would vaccinate, compared to opposition supporters or people who do not identify with any political party.
Interestingly, people who named TV or the internet as their main source of information about COVID-19 were more likely to be willing to vaccinate, with internet users being more likely to say so than people who named other sources as primary.
There were no significant differences between people of different settlement types and employment statuses after controlling for other factors.
Note: This and the following charts were generated from a regression model. The model includes sex (male, female), age group (18–34, 35–54, 55+), settlement type (capital, urban, rural), education (secondary or lower, secondary technical, tertiary), employment status (employed, not employed), party support (Georgian Dream, opposition, did not name a party), and source of information about COVID-19 (TV, Internet/Facebook, other).
As for the reasons for not vaccinating, regression analysis shows that the quality of the vaccine was around 1.2 times more likely to be questioned by women than men. Opposition supporters were almost twice as likely to say they don’t trust the quality of COVID-19 vaccines.
People who named TV as their main source of information about COVID-19 were more likely to question the quality of the vaccine compared to people who named the internet or other sources as primary.
There were no significant differences between people of different ages, settlement types, education levels, or employment statuses.
Who thinks we can handle the pandemic without vaccination?
Regression analysis also showed that men were 1.5 times more likely to state that they believed we can handle the pandemic without vaccination. Younger people were 1.9 times more likely to say the same, compared to people over 54.
Inhabitants of the capital were also 1.6 times more likely to think we can handle the pandemic without vaccination than people living in rural areas. Georgian Dream supporters were more than two times as likely to think so as opposition supporters.
Finally, people who named the internet as their main source of information about COVID-19 were 1.4 times more likely to say we can handle the pandemic without vaccination than people who name TV as their primary source.
No significant differences between people of different education levels and employment statuses were present.
Regression analysis also suggested that when it comes to being against vaccination in general and attributing alternative goals to the vaccination process, education was the only factor that makes a difference in people’s opinions.
People with secondary or lower education were 1.9 times more likely be against vaccination in general or attribute alternative goals to vaccination, than people with higher education.
There were no significant differences between people of different sex, age, settlement type, employment status, party affiliation, or sources of information about COVID-19.
February 2021 data from the CRRC/NDI survey showed that the majority of Georgians are not convinced of the effectiveness of the government’s COVID-19 vaccination plan and also are not willing to vaccinate against COVID-19.
The most common reason for not doing so was a lack of trust in the quality of the COVID-19 vaccine and belief that pandemic can be handled without vaccination.
Men, older people, people with higher education, Georgian Dream supporters, and those who receive information about COVID-19 primarily from the internet were more likely to be willing to vaccinate.
When it comes to reasons for not vaccinating, women, opposition supporters, and people who name TV as their main source of information about COVID-19 were most likely to doubt the quality of the vaccine, while men, younger people, inhabitants of the capital, Georgian Dream supporters, and people who name the internet as their main source of information were most likely to believe that we can handle the pandemic without vaccination.
Additionally, people with secondary or lower education were more likely to be against vaccination in general and attribute alternative goals to it than people with higher education.
For more data on people’s attitudes towards various issues see the CRRC/NDI February 2021 survey dataset on CRRC’s online data analysis tool.
The findings reflect broader global trends which have seen dramatic decreases in air pollution levels in China, Italy, and the United Kingdom.
Facebook is an important part of Georgian politics. Political campaigns are fought, and public opinion thought to often be formed on the platform...
As Easter celebrations approach in Georgia, a study by CRRC Georgia suggests that a large number of Georgia’s Orthodox Christians still intend to celebrate at Church. The survey of Facebook users found that around 40% of people who usually celebrate Easter in Church intended to do so again this year despite the pandemic.
Without trust in the messages of public health officials, measures aimed at preventing the spread of the virus are less likely to be complied with, exacerbating the spread of the virus.
Many experts believe that to fully remove the restrictions which have emerged because of the COVID-19 crisis, a vaccine is needed. While vaccines are only expected in the medium term, if and when they are available, Georgia may face large challenges with implementing a large scale vaccination program.
The COVID-19 outbreak generated discussion about whether support for democracy would decline during and after the crisis. While reported support increased, this did not necessarily match support for democratic means of governance.
Data from the CRRC’s COVID-19 monitor shows that more people in Georgia reported support for democracy compared to the pre-crisis period. However, as before the crisis, support for democracy does not seem to be grounded in the values commonly associated with democratic governance.
In times of crisis, support for governments often rises in what is known as a rallying around the flag effect. The COVID-19 crisis in Georgia has been no exception.
Data from around the world has shown rallying around the flag effects in many countries during the pandemic, with a few exceptions. Georgia has followed this broader pattern, with performance ratings tripling for many actors and institutions between November/December 2019 and May 2020.
As the number of new daily confirmed cases is again on the rise, we look at how people felt about the anti-coronavirus restrictions in May.
Aside from the public health situation, COVID-19 has led to rising unemployment, reduced incomes, and food insecurity in Georgia. As the number of new daily confirmed cases is again on the rise, the Caucasus Datablog takes a look at how people felt about the anti-coronavirus restrictions when they were at their height.
Georgia has postponed the reopening of schools in major cities due to a new surge in the pandemic, but what are the biggest concerns Georgians have with the education system?
Georgia’s new academic year started on 15 September, but physical attendance at schools and universities in major cities has been postponed until 1 October.
An NDI and CRRC survey conducted in June 2020 asked questions about people’s beliefs about the origins and spread of coronavirus. The data suggest that while a majority of the population does not believe in common disinformation messages such as a relation between 5G technology and the spread of the coronavirus, only a small portion thinks that coronavirus came about naturally.
In Georgia, it would appear that informing people that others are acting responsibly in the pandemic could in fact lead to the opposite behaviour.
Communications have been critical to attempts to prevent the spread of COVID-19 globally, and it is unclear what the best strategy for doing so might be. In Georgia, it would appear that informing people that others are acting responsibly in the pandemic could in fact lead to the opposite behaviour.
Since the pandemic hit Georgia in February, the Georgian government has taken several measures to raise awareness about it. But are the public actually well informed?
Since March 2020, the Georgian Government has been conducting large scale information campaigns through traditional and online media, has launched an informational web portal, StopCov.ge, and has even launched a smartphone app providing information about contact with infected people.
The pandemic has clearly harmed people’s health, yet new data from the Caucasus Barometer Survey suggests that people considered themselves more healthy in 2020.
In 2019, 35% of the public evaluated their health as good. In past years, this had shifted up and down to varying extents, however, the largest change was a decline from 41% to 30% between 2013 and 2014.
In contrast, between 2019 and 2020, the share of people reporting that they were in good health nearly doubled from 35% to 65%.
Prior to the most recent episode in Georgia's political crises, COVID-19 was the country's main concern. Yet, data on how the public views the country's handling of the crisis shows a stark partisan divide.
It has been a year since the first case of coronavirus was detected in Georgia. Since then, over 260,000 cases have been confirmed, over 3,300 fatalities, and the economy has suffered the largest decline since 1994. In light of this, how does the Georgian public assess the country’s handling of the pandemic?
Data from the 2020 Caucasus Barometer survey offers a snapshot of how well people think the country did in dealing with the outbreak.
With the pandemic still raging and accompanying economic restrictions still in force, Georgians are unsurprisingly pessimistic about their economic future. This holds true especially for supporters of the opposition United National Movement Party, above all other party supporters.
COVID-19 restrictions have impacted people’s economic activity heavily. This is reflected in key economic indicators such as GDP, which declined by 5.9% year on year between January and November 2020.
It is also reflected in employment, with fewer people reporting starting new jobs and more people reporting having lost one, according to the 2020 Caucasus Barometer.
It’s been over a year since the first coronavirus case was recorded in Georgia, and attitudes towards the pandemic have continued to change.
CRRC Georgia’s Omnibus survey has tracked attitudes towards the COVID-19 pandemic since April 2020. Data from the most recent wave of the survey, in January, suggest that Georgians increasingly believe that the worst is already behind us.
In April 2020, Georgia had low COVID-19 case counts. Given this as well as the difficult situations in other countries, it is perhaps unsurprising that 45% of the public believed that the worst of the virus was yet to come. At the same time, 26% thought that the virus would not be a major problem, and 14% thought that the worst had already passed.