The optimism of science and the distrust of citizens go hand in hand in the race to get an effective vaccine against Covid.
The European Medicines Agency could approve the first vaccines in mid-December. Which raises great hopes among researchers.
“The great news is that these vaccines will obviously help us get back to life,” says Professor Luke O’Neill, professor of biochemistry at Trinity College Dublin. “I am optimistic and I think that by next summer things will have returned to normal.”
The European Commission also expects it. Since last June, it has invested billions of euros for the development of the vaccine and has signed framework contracts with five pharmaceutical companies. And he hopes that once approved, 300 million doses can be distributed throughout Europe.
But your biggest challenge could be convincing citizens. In Belgium, the government wants to vaccinate 70% of the population for free. But not everyone trusts. Euronews has taken the pulse of the citizens of Brussels.
“I will wait for others to do it first. Then I will put it on myself. But I will not be the one to start,” explains an elderly woman who says she fears the vaccine more than the Covid.
“I do not believe that Covid exists. They have invented it. So I am not going to wear it,” says a teenager.
“It’s great that they found a vaccine. I cross my fingers that I can get it on soon. It’s what we’ve been waiting for,” says a street sweeper instead.
“The world is in danger right now, so I’ll put it on,” adds a butcher.
“I don’t trust the first vaccine, we don’t know what side effects it may have,” concludes a passerby.
For Professor Luke O’Neill, the obligation of doctors and scientists is to inform. He himself, when he is not in his laboratory, promotes science through the radio. And is aware of the doubts.
“It is understandable because it is a new disease. Vaccines create a certain anxiety in people. They get nervous simply when they see a needle stick in the arm of a baby. And add to that the horror of social networks that spread false news “O’Neill explains. “But the truth is that vaccines are extremely safe. All health agencies in the world recommend their use. It’s a strange debate because vaccines are the greatest contribution to the history of medicine. They are fantastic.”
But they find them show that skepticism among the people is high. In Spain, 47% of citizens do not want to wear it, at least immediately after it is launched. Politicians and scientists are going to have to report a lot and well to overcome these reluctance.