There have been many ups and downs on the rollercoaster of this pandemic. Sometimes Ireland has scored poorly, for example, along with much of the EU were slow to roll out vaccines. We also endured a huge curtailment of civil liberties with more days of lockdown than any other jurisdiction. But, on the positive side, we consistently scored highest in Europe on the survival rates from ICU.
However, the metric on which Ireland stands out the most is our world beating levels of vaccine acceptancy and very low vaccine hesitancy. Our vaccine uptake has been described as the envy of Europe; no other EU jurisdiction is as accepting of the covid vaccines as we are. Vaccine acceptancy in France has grown from a mere 25% in November to 60% now. Our levels of vaccine acceptancy are over 90% and in some population cohorts over 98%. We have far higher acceptancy rates than star performers Australia and New Zealand. In the US, vaccine acceptancy and hesitancy has split along political lines with Republicans being more hesitant and Democrats being more accepting. In India, a yoga televangelist with a huge following has warned Indians off taking the vaccine. Many countries have offered cash prizes, lucky draws and free drinks to get citizens to participate in their vaccination programs.
Vaccine efficacy is of course a question of science, not politics. Biology and chemistry, pharmacology and medicine. In Ireland we seem to be of the view that science is truth and not open to much interpretation by the political expediencies of the day. We dismiss fake news and conspiracy theories which hold so much of today’s world in their grip. The information we got was not subject to censorship, we made the decision to accept the vaccine based on access to all available knowledge. Vaccine acceptancy occurred across our political spectrum. Whether your politics are left, right or centre, the chances are you either have been or are willing to get vaccinated.
Why have we so massively bought into the science of covid vaccination? Because it was the only way out of lockdown? Or perhaps it’s because our education system gave all of us some grounding in science? Or our political system that doesn’t seek to weaponize crises for political gain but for improving society? Luke O’Neill and other prominent scientists? Why do you think, despite often being late adopters of innovation, we have beaten the rest of the world on vaccine acceptancy?
Share your thoughts below.