Survey Findings on Views about the Territory-wide COVID-19 Vaccination Programme to be Launched by the Hong Kong SAR Government
The Hong Kong government is soon to launch a territory-wide COVID-19 vaccination programme (the programme) free of charge to all Hong Kong residents. A telephone survey was conducted from 15 to 22 January 2021 at night by the Hong Kong Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies, The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) to gauge public views on the programme. Through the survey, 720 respondents aged 18 or above were successfully interviewed, with response rate of 33.2% (landline) and 32.0% (mobile). The sampling error is plus or minus 3.65 percentage points, at a confidence level of 95%.
Major findings are summarised as follows:
Among the respondents successfully interviewed, upon the launch of the programme, 13.5% indicated that they would join at the earliest moment, while 32.7% said no to the programme altogether, indicating they would not seek to be vaccinated under the programme. About a half (45.6%) of the respondents would like to “wait for a while” before joining, and 7.4% were “undecided”, while 0.8% were “not sure” about joining the programme.
For those who indicated their intention to join the programme, the top three reasons to do so were: “fear to be infected/to protect self or family members” (64.2%), “help to end the pandemic earlier” (13.5%), and “have faith in the vaccine” (6.9%). While for those who said no to the programme, the top three reasons were: “fear of the side effects of vaccines” (33.6%), “have no trust in the government” (27.0%), and “have no faith or knowledge of the vaccines” (19.1%).
Among those who did not explicitly reject the programme, the three popular choices of vaccine providers were: BioNTech vaccine (23.7%), AstraZeneca vaccine (23.1%), and CoronaVac (17.0%). 11.9% of the respondents did not see any necessity of choosing one over another, or would accept any kind of them, while 4.6% would only like to have the vaccines manufactured from either Germany or the United Kingdom. Less than a fifth (18.5%) of the respondents were undecided or were not sure when asked.
The respondents were asked to evaluate the likelihood of the local pandemic being contained after the vaccination programme, and around half of the respondents (48.3%) said “likely” or “very likely”, while 35.5% said “unlikely” or “very unlikely”. When asked to evaluate if the programme could be implemented smoothly, 30.3% of the respondents said “likely” or “very likely”, while 60.7% said “unlikely” or “very unlikely”.
The survey also followed changes of respondents’ views on the development of the local pandemic. Over a third of the respondents (35.6%) estimated the local pandemic might ease in the coming month, 12.3% estimated it would be worsened, while 45.4% felt it would be about the same. The percentage distribution of the views was significantly different from the last survey conducted in August 2020. More respondents estimated the pandemic to be about the same or become worse.
Around a third of the respondents (29.0%) believed the current countermeasures put forth by the government should be tightened, and 39.6% would like them to remain the same. Only a fifth (19.6%) of the respondents advocated relaxation. The percentage distribution of the views was not significantly different from the last survey in August 2020.
With regard to people’s concern of being infected, 30.9% said they were not worried, 45.3% were somewhat worried, 13.3% were quite worried, and 9.0% were very worried. The percentage distribution of the views was not significantly different from the last survey in August 2020.
The survey also asked the respondents’ view on prospects of the local economy, 71.9% of the respondents were quite worried or very worried about the economic recession, while 22.6% were not worried or were not worried at all. The percentage distribution of the views was not significantly different from the last survey in August 2020.