One week ahead of the beginning of Israel’s campaign of coronavirus vaccination, when hundreds of thousands of citizens will be receiving text messages inviting them to show up at their HMO clinics for the shot, an Israel Hayom survey revealed on Sunday that more than a third of the public, 37%, plan to refuse the vaccine. Only 44% would agree to get vaccinated and almost a fifth, 19%, were uncertain – setting the rate of those who at the moment consider refusing vaccination at a whopping 56%.
The survey was conducted by Maagar Mohot’s Prof. Yitzhak Katz, among 525 Israelis.
The survey shows that the rate of those who agree to be vaccinated increases with age: among Israelis 65 and older, 63% agree to be vaccinated and only 20% refused; among ages 50 to 64, almost half, 49%, agree and about a third, 32% refuse. These age groups, 50 and up, are likely to be the first to be vaccinated.
Among Israelis ages 30 to 50, the consent rate drops to 42%; and in ages 18 to 30 only 34% said they are willing to be vaccinated, with close to half, 48%, saying they are not.
The highest rate of willingness to take the vaccine was among secular Jews, 57%, and the national religious, 43%. Among traditional Jews, only 38% would agree to be vaccinated.
Among Christian and Muslim Arabs only 35% said they would be vaccinated; and among Haredim and former Haredim, the number was even lower – 26%.
The Health Ministry has yet to launch a promotion campaign for the new vaccines and their benefits, save for medical staff. The only popular publicity initiatives so far have been issued by the Association of Infectious Disease Specialists and the Association of Pediatricians, disseminating information about the vaccine and its effectiveness, alongside Q&As.
The Israel Hayom survey shows that the promotional effort should be invested in the Haredi and the Arab sectors while boosting awareness in the older age groups.
Having said that, the survey also shows that the Health Ministry’s promotional efforts have been effective, as 93% of respondents said they are careful about wearing facemasks and maintaining a social distance. Only 4% said they are not careful.
Here, too, adherence increases with age: 86% of Israelis ages 18 to 30 wear masks and keep a distance, compared with 96% to 97% of Israelis ages 50 and over.
The average score given by the respondents to the functioning of the Israeli government during the crisis on a scale of 1 to 5 is 2.38 (a failed score). It is, however, slightly higher than the score given in a similar survey conducted in September, on the eve of the lockdown: 2.27. Half of the respondents (50%) said the score was low or very low, and 30% said it was mediocre. 12% said the government’s crisis management deserved a high score, and 5% said it was very good.
Despite the low score on the question of crisis management, respondents thought that the most fitting leader to address the corona crisis was PM Benjamin Netanyahu – 30%, followed by Naftali Bennett – 24%. Next in the ranking were Gideon Saar and Yair Lapid with 14% each; Benny Gantz – 8%; Ron Huldai – 7%; And Gadi Izenkot with 3%.