IN DATA WE TRUST
Throughout vaccine development and rollout, an array of data, from experiments in the lab to clinical trials to post-licence monitoring, helps make vaccines as effective and safe as possible. Access to data is important for experts making public health decisions but also for lay people, as their perceptions and attitudes strongly affect vaccination uptake.
Without trust in safety and effectiveness of Covid-19 vaccines it is hard to gain high (voluntary) vaccination rates in any population.
DATA INFLUENCES PUBLIC OPINION
Polls tell us that in EU countries hesitation to get vaccinated is often based on lack of access to reliable data, with almost one in two respondents agree that it is difficult to find information that they can trust about COVID-19 and vaccines.
The Covid-19 pandemic brought with it waves of data (for example numbers of tested, infected and diseased citizens) and information on how Covid-19 diagnostic tests and vaccines are working. For many people, not only lay people but for health experts too, it was hard to interpret all the data. But it is not possible to understand a pandemic without data. So what we need is not less data but ways and tools to make trustworthy data on Covid-19, and indeed other infectious diseases, easily accessible.
BY-COVID BUILDS TRUST
The BY-COVID project has created a COVID-19 Data Portal which links data from many different research areas such as genomics and social science. It is a resource for scientists and health professionals, but it can help reassure citizens that reliable data exists and is accessible to all.
Data doesn’t always change public opinion easily. According to the EUROBAROMETER poll, trust in COVID-19 vaccination reflects general trust in institutions such as national governments. This trust reflects not only the current policies and actions of the institutions but their past record. This makes building trust a slow process, but one in which reliable and accessible data play an important role.
IF YOU WANT TO KNOW MORE…
Eurobarometer data on attitudes of Europeans towards vaccination:
- Eurobarometer(data collected in May 2021)
- Eurobarometer(data collected in February 2022)
CESSDA Data Catalogue where some interesting COVID-19 related data located in European social science data archives can be found: CESSDA Data Catalogue
Alternative way how to get to European data on social issues connected with COVID-19 is through CESSDA signpost page: CESSDA and COVID-19