Vaccine Hesitancy Around the World: Spotlight on Ukraine

by | Jul 9, 2021

Vaccine hesitancy is currently a hot topic due to concerns around COVID-19. However, it has long been an issue for the international development community.

As public health officials around the world work to vaccinate people against COVID-19 and increase basic general immunization coverage, they must also wrestle with the complex issue of vaccine hesitancy. The first step to combatting hesitancy is to better understand it. 

Ukraine represents an interesting case. Vaccine hesitancy in Ukraine is particularly high, higher than both its European peers and the United States. More than 50% of Premise survey respondents indicate they feel vaccines are unsafe or are unsure they are safe.

However, Premise data reveals that hesitancy varies within Ukraine, with the Western region more vaccine positive on average than the Eastern region. Further, while the respondents in the Western oblasts are more willing to receive a COVID-19 vaccine from the United States than any other country, the respondents in the Eastern oblasts are less willing to receive a US vaccine and much more willing to receive a vaccine from Russia—even though Gamaleya’s Sputnik V is not approved for use in Ukraine.1

Our data also provides insight into vaccine misinformation and disinformation, for example, the sources of negative information and the subject matter. Interestingly, a plurality of respondents in the Ukraine indicated that negative information came from online blogs and journals, followed by social media and TV. The majority of negative information was regarding side effects or distrust of pharmaceutical companies.

With the unusual circumstances of vaccine hesitancy in Ukraine, it’s particularly important to understand the specifics. Once public health officials know where vaccine hesitancy is happening, what types of misinformation is being spread and through what media, they can craft more effective methods for combating hesitancy and increasing immunization coverage. The Premise Platform can collect that data—ongoing, real-time data to help the development community and ministries of health discover and adapt to new insights and changing trends.

Check out our COVID-19 Dashboard to better understand trends around the world relating to the ongoing Pandemic.

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1 In Ukraine, vaccines from Pfizer, the Serum Institute of India, and SinoVac are approved.