Only 39 per cent of Hongkongers are willing to receive Covid-19 vaccine shots offered by the government, according to a survey. The study, which polled 2,733 residents, also found that 51 per cent of the respondents with chronic illnesses planned to get the jabs. The online survey was conducted by the University of Hong Kong, Shue Yan University, Baptist University (HKBU) and the Hong Kong Society for Rehabilitation, between January 22 and 28. Dr Samson Yuen Wai-hei, from HKBU’s department of government and international studies, said the results did not mean people were unwilling to get vaccinated, as many were adopting a “wait-and-see” approach. The numbers should not be too worrying as the situation may change Samson Yuen, Baptist University “The numbers should not be too worrying as the situation may change, it’s quite dynamic,” he said. “Once the public becomes more familiar with the vaccination process, their perceptions might change gradually.” Residents remain wary of Covid-19 vaccines, with less than a third willing to get jab Some 41 per cent of the respondents said they would prefer to be among the last 10 per cent of the population to get the shots, in responses indicating that the public were keen to delay vaccination as much as possible. Almost 34 per cent of the respondents had chronic illnesses, including diabetes and cancer. The survey also found that people were unwilling to get the shots even in return for money from the government. “We believe if you offer reward money, it signals something might be problematic about the vaccination scheme, which is why you need to incentivise people,” Yuen said. “It’s actually good enough to provide [the shots] for free ... We don’t need to spend taxpayers’ money to incentivise people.” Respondents without chronic illnesses were worried about constraints such as not having enough information on the vaccines, but those with long-standing diseases mostly viewed the scheme as a collective responsibility and a necessary solution to control the pandemic. But both groups hoped to have more extensive information about the vaccination drive before making a decision. Survey finds under 40 per cent willing to take coronavirus jab The attitudes of the respondents in the survey were also in line with previous studies conducted by other institutions. Chinese University interviewed 1,200 respondents between July and August last year, but fewer than 40 per cent of them were willing to get the shots. Another poll, conducted among 838 people by the Hong Kong Public Opinion Research Institute in January this year, showed 33 per cent of respondents had chosen not to be vaccinated, while 36 per cent remained undecided. Professor Ng Siu-man, from the department of social work and social administration at HKU, said authorities could enhance their communication efforts to increase public confidence in the vaccine, by taking steps such as simplifying the information given to the public. In another part of the survey that analysed the public’s psychosocial health during the pandemic, Dr Bobo Lau Hi-po, from the department of counselling and psychology at Shue Yan University, warned that about 21 per cent of the respondents displayed at least two signs of mental illnesses, such as anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. This could have been caused by social isolation, she said. Researchers hoped more emotional support could be offered to people to cope with mental health issues amid the pandemic. They also recommended the government prioritise vaccination for the elderly, those with chronic illnesses and people in high-risk jobs.