On 21st November 2022, the European Commission published its third State of Vaccine Confidence in the European Union report, led by The Vaccine Confidence Project. ORB continued its contribution to this research by conducting primary research across all 27 EU member states (EU 27). This report contributes to an understanding of public health across Europe that is critical for avoiding subsequent global health crises, such as COVID-19. According to the CDC, strong confidence in vaccines leads to increased vaccinations across all age groups, resulting in fewer hospitalizations and deaths.

For this latest edition, ORB International surveyed 25,143 members of the public and 3,012 healthcare professionals (HCPs) across the EU 27 between March and August 2022. ORB collected all data through online panels in local languages. ORB also collected additional HCP responses in Cyprus, Malta, and Luxembourg, in partnership with the Standing Committee of European Doctors (CPME).

Following fluctuations during the pandemic, perceptions of vaccines have generally returned to their 2018 levels. According to the study, 82% across the EU 27 agree that vaccines are important, 86% agree that they are effective, and 82% agree that they are safe.

Nevertheless, differences between countries and vaccine types still persist. For example, the study revealed significant geographic variations; vaccine confidence is higher in Western Europe and notably lower in Eastern and Central Europe. Confidence in different vaccine types varied widely as well; the MMR vaccine ranked the highest in confidence, while the COVID-19 vaccine ranked the lowest.

A comparison of the public confidence between over 65-year-olds and 18 to 34-year-olds also shows an increasing “vaccine confidence gap;” the 18 to 34-year-olds became less confident between 2018 and 2022. Understanding the variation in confidence between the demographics represented in this report allows governments and organizations to develop a more targeted public health response.

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