Taiwan has set a goal to vaccinate 60% of its population with a coronavirus vaccine, or 15 million people. The island has signed an agreement with COVAX to purchase a Covid-19 vaccine and is in talks with other vaccine companies who have candidates in phase three trials. Nevertheless, just 60% of the Taiwanese public think that it is likely that a coronavirus vaccine will become available within the next year. Around a fifth (21%) say it is unlikely, and a further fifth (20%) don’t know. The proportion who are optimistic that a vaccine will become available is much lower than in Great Britain, where vaccination is underway.
Significantly, less than half (44%) of the Taiwanese public currently say that they will get themselves vaccinated if a vaccine becomes available at little to no financial cost within the next year. This level of willingness is lower than in Germany, Italy, Spain, and Great Britain, but higher than in France.
A majority (54%) of male respondents will get vaccinated, compared to only around a third (35%) of female respondents. Those who voted for President Tsai are marginally more likely (48%) to get vaccinated than those who voted for KMT candidate Han Kuo-yu (43%).
Scepticism about a coronavirus vaccine in Taiwan is likely related to the fact that a majority (53%) agree that there is so much public pressure for a coronavirus vaccine to be introduced that the government, regulators and pharmaceutical companies will lower the standards. Only 9% disagree, and a third (33%) neither agree nor disagree.
Notably, a clear majority of both DPP voters (54%), and KMT supporters (60%) are concerned that key stakeholders may compromise standards for a vaccine.
Moreover, nearly half the country agrees that there may be other ways of controlling the coronavirus situation in Taiwan apart from the vaccine––an understandable view given that the island nation has reported less than a thousand cases of coronavirus altogether.
Among those who say they will get vaccinated, just 22% will get vaccinated as soon as possible. The majority (52%) will wait a few months to see the effects the vaccine has on other people but will get vaccinated during the first year. A further 23% will wait almost until the end of the first year to observe the long-term impact on individuals who have been vaccinated.
Meanwhile, among those who initially said they will not get vaccinated, a majority (53%) think they would consider getting a vaccine if a high number of people in Taiwan—more than a few million—take the vaccine.
In addition, over a fifth (22%) will get vaccinated if their doctor advises them it is safe, and 16% will be inoculated if their employment situation requires it. A further 12% will get a coronavirus vaccine if the President of Taiwan takes the vaccine.
A strong majority (60%) also agree that all members of the Government should take the vaccine to ensure public trust in the safety of the coronavirus vaccine. Just 4% disagree, and around a third (32%) neither agree nor disagree.
Ultimately, the Taiwanese public are relatively uncertain about whether a coronavirus vaccine will be available by December 2021. Moreover, respondents in Taiwan, particularly women, are wary about taking the coronavirus vaccine. Many of those who intend to take a vaccine will not get themselves inoculated immediately. Limited willingness to take a vaccine is likely related to concerns about the safety of a coronavirus vaccine, although this could be addressed if a significant proportion of the Taiwanese people receive inoculation, or the President and the Government take a vaccine.