Study Finds Vaccine Confidence Is Lower In High-Income Countries

Study Finds Vaccine Confidence Is Lower In High-Income Countries
A global report published Wednesday found that vaccine confidence is lower in higher-income countries.

A new global study on vaccines shows some surprising statistics about how people around the world view them.

U.K. researchers found that people in some higher-income countries have the lowest confidence in vaccines. They surveyed more than 140,000 people in over 140 countries about their opinions on health and science topics to get a better understanding about vaccine confidence in the world. 

Overall, confidence in vaccines is on the higher side. Globally, almost 80 percent of the people surveyed agreed that vaccines are safe, and 84 percent said they're effective. 

But researchers broke those views down by region, and found that poorer countries, like Bangladesh and Rwanda, had the strongest certainty about vaccines. Almost everyone in those countries answered that they think vaccines are safe, effective and important for children. 

The report singled out France as having the lowest levels of trust in vaccines of all the countries surveyed. One in three respondents there said they don't agree that vaccines are safe. 

According to the responses, 72 percent of people in North America agree that vaccines are safe. That's compared to a higher number of people in lower-income regions, like 95 percent in South Asia. 

The study's findings point to vaccine skepticism being more prevalent in areas where outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases, like measles, have cropped up after being declared eradicated. 

Refusing vaccination is a trend that public health experts say has led to a spike in measles cases in the U.S. and Europe. It's also prompted the WHO to name vaccine hesitancy as one of the top 10 threats to global health this year. 

Medical experts agree that for most healthy babies and children, vaccines are very safe. Federal health regulators recommend children be fully immunized against 14 preventable diseases by the time they're 6 years old. 

It's also worth pointing out that more than 90 percent of parents in the study said their children have been vaccinated, suggesting that vaccines are agreed to even in areas where their safety and effectiveness are most doubted. 

The group behind the research recommends taking a closer look at vaccine attitude trends in order to maintain public health safety in the coming years. 

Additional reporting from Newsy affiliate CNN