“Our national vaccination programme, which is working incredibly well, we have the highest vaccine acceptance amongst adults in the world”
That was the claim from vaccines minister, Nadhim Zahawi, on Tuesday.
Given the large numbers of people vaccinated in the UK – 15 million as of yesterday – you might think the Stratford-upon-Avon MP was talking about the proportion of people who had already said ‘yes’ when offered the vaccine.
But we understand from the Department of Health and Social Care that he had something else in mind.
Polling from IpsosMORI found 89 per cent of Brits would be willing to get the jab when offered it. That was the highest rate in the survey – but the pollsters only looked at eleven countries. It’s also worth saying that they only spoke to people aged under 75. We don’t know how the rankings would change if they’d looked at older age groups.
YouGov reached a similar figure (86 per cent) and again saw the UK top of their league table – but of just 26 nations.
So while Brits do seem enthusiastic about the vaccine, it’s hard to see how the minister can claim to know we’re first in the world on this count.
The best test will come when we get more detailed information about how many people in each country accept the jab when offered it.
We’ll have to wait for the rest of the world to catch up with nations like the UK, Israel and the UAE – which have reached the largest proportion of their populations so far – before we can see where Britain ranks globally.