Most Jamaicans against mandatory COVID-19 vaccination - RJRGLEANER Don Anderson poll

Pollster Don Anderson
The latest RJRGLEANER Don Anderson poll has found that the government would face massive opposition if it tries to implement mandatory vaccination.
The poll was conducted from August 19 to September 3 among 1,003 Jamaicans and has a margin of error of plus or minus three per cent.
Pollster Don Anderson said 70 per cent of those surveyed said the COVID-19 vaccine should not be mandatory, while 30 per cent were in support of a vaccine mandate. 
Prime Minister Andrew Holness has publicly stated that the government does not intend to institute vaccine mandates for the general population at this time.
However, Attorney General Marlene Malahoo Forte has said the issue of mandatory COVID-19 vaccination for health care workers is being actively considered by the government.
On Wednesday, Mr. Holness also stated in the House of Representatives that the country will eventually move to differential treatment for vaccinated people versus the unvaccinated.
Vaccine hesitancy 
The government still has work to do to convince the majority of Jamaicans to take the vaccine.
Mr. Anderson said 25 per cent of people who participated in the poll have already made up their minds they will not take the vaccine. Another 20 per cent said they are not sure, while nine per cent said they have not yet taken it. 
On the other hand, 21 per cent said they have already received the vaccine, and 25 per cent said they will take it.
Mr. Anderson said lack of trust in the vaccines was the biggest reason given by those who did not want to take the COVID-19 vaccine. 
Fifty-four per cent of those people said they did not intend to take the vaccine because they do not trust it. 
Additionally, 29 per cent said they are not sure, 22 per cent were convinced the vaccine has side effects they do not want, 17 per cent said they were not ready yet, and nine per cent said they had not got to it yet. 
Mr. Anderson noted that four per cent of respondents said they would not take the COVID-19 shot because of religious reasons.
Others said they needed more education on the vaccines; that the vaccines did not prevent COVID; the vaccination sites were too crowded; or they were concerned about underlying issues.
Pfizer preferred 
The latest poll has shown that the majority of Jamaicans do not have a brand preference, but those who did preferred the Pfizer vaccine. 
Sixty-six per cent of the people interviewed said they did not care what brand of COVID-19 vaccine they received. However, 34 per cent said they preferred a particular brand.  
Fifty-six per cent of those with a preference said they wanted the Pfizer vaccine. Another 22 per cent wanted the Johnson and Johnson single-dose jab, while 11 per cent said they would take the AstraZeneca vaccine. 
According to Mr. Anderson, the preference for certain vaccines could be fuelling vaccine hesitancy since the AstraZeneca shot, which is the one most widely available in Jamaica, has the lowest favourability. 
Administration of the Pfizer vaccine has been suspended due to a supply shortage.
The government had initially announced that vaccine was intended to inoculate children 12 years and older to facilitate the resumption of face-to-face school. However, that policy was shifted and the vaccine was made available to the general public. 
Prime Minister Andrew Holness on Wednesday made it clear that brand will be reserved for vaccinating only children when new shipments arrive.
He has warned Jamaicans they will not be able to cherry pick the brand of vaccine they want to take.

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