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vaccine hesitancy Just 5pc of people in Ireland now say they will not be getting Covid-19 jab

It comes as the HSE's vaccination roll-out reaches the "final furlong" as it plans to target pockets of groups and areas of the country where take-up is lowest

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The percentage of people who will refuse a Covid-19 vaccine is highest in the 25 to 34 age group, with general resistance highest in Munster, Connacht and Ulster, an Ipsos MRBI poll reveals today.

However, even in that group only 8pc of 25 to 34-year-olds say they will not accept a vaccine, as vaccine hesitancy drops further.

Across the country, 6pc of people in Munster, Connacht and Ulster will not be vaccinated.

The tracker poll, which has been running since last October, was commissioned by the Irish Pharmaceutical Healthcare Association (IPHA), which represents the originator bio-pharmaceutical industry. 

It comes as the HSE's vaccination roll-out reaches the "final furlong" as it plans to target pockets of groups and areas of the country where take-up is lowest.

Nationally 5pc say they will not take a vaccine, down from 7pc in January.

Around 7pc of people aged 35 to 44 say they will not be immunised against Covid-19. The age group who are most "unsure" are aged 18 to 24, with one in 10 still to make up their minds.

The lowest resistance to vaccination is seen in Dublin and the rest of Leinster.

However, Bernard Mallee, director of communications and advocacy at IPHA, said the overall picture shows vaccine hesitancy has dropped by 36 points over the past 10 months.

Last October, two months before the first vaccines arrived here, 12pc of people said they would not get vaccinated for the disease. At that point 33pc were unsure.

This month's poll showed 5pc will not get a vaccine and just 4pc are unsure.

The latest poll also shows how resistance has ebbed as the impact of the vaccines became clear.

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In the 18 to 34-year-old cohort, 86pc either intend to get vaccinated for Covid-19 or have already received a vaccine for the disease.

Last October, 19pc of people in that age cohort said they would refuse a vaccine, compared with 7pc this month.

A third of 18 to 34-year-olds said they were unsure about a jab in October, but this has fallen to 8pc.

Among 18 to 24-year-olds, 4pc would refuse to get vaccinated, unchanged since last month.

Overall, 91pc of people over 18 either intend to get vaccinated or already received a jab, according to the research.

Mr Mallee said: "It is clear that vaccine hesitancy has been declining sharply across the eligible population.

"Data shows how effective vaccination is at reducing serious illness, hospitalisations and deaths. The vaccination rate in Ireland is very high and we are among the fastest countries in Europe to administer vaccinations.

"The health authorities deserve credit for the roll-out of the vaccination programme just as our industry, working with others, merits recognition for discovering and manufacturing safe and effective Covid-19 vaccines in record time.

"Scientists are working hard to find answers for variants of concern. 

"With the exception of clean, safe drinking water, vaccination is among the most successful and cost-effective public health interventions ever. The World Health Organisation estimates that vaccines save up to three million lives every year.

"We have vaccines to prevent more than 20 life-threatening diseases, helping people of all ages live longer, healthier lives."

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