Coronavirus and vaccine hesitancy, Great Britain: 26 May to 20 June 2021

Hesitancy towards the coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine, based on the Opinions and Lifestyle Survey covering the period 26 May to 20 June 2021.

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Dyddiad y datganiad:
2 July 2021

Cyhoeddiad nesaf:
To be announced

1. Main points

In the latest period, 26 May to 20 June 2021, based on adults in Great Britain, we found:

  • More than 9 in 10 (96%) adults reported positive sentiment towards a coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine, while 4% reported vaccine hesitancy.

  • Vaccine hesitancy has decreased slightly from the previous period (6% over the period 28 April to 23 May 2021); although this decrease was not statistically significant, there is a longer term trend of declining hesitancy which is also observed across most population groups.

  • For the first time we've looked at younger age groups - 86% of those aged 16 to 17 years reported positive sentiment towards a COVID-19 vaccine, while 14% reported vaccine hesitancy, the highest vaccine hesitancy compared with those aged 18 to 21 years (9%), and those aged 22 to 25 years (10%).

  • The same rates of vaccine hesitancy were reported by women and men (both 4%).

  • Black or Black British adults had the highest rates of vaccine hesitancy (18%) compared with White adults (4%).

  • Vaccine hesitancy was higher for adults identifying Muslim (15%) or Other (11%) as their religion1, compared with adults who identify as Christian (3%); however, there was no statistically significant difference when compared with any of the remaining religious groups.

  • In London, 7% of adults reported vaccine hesitancy - a higher percentage than most other regions in England.

  • Adults living in the most deprived areas of England (based on the Index of Multiple Deprivation) were more likely to report vaccine hesitancy (8%) than adults living in the least deprived areas (3%).


The estimates are from a sample of adults and may differ from the latest official data on the number of adults who have received the COVID-19 vaccination. It does not include adults living in care homes or other establishments.

Notes for: Main points

  1. Other here refers to people who do not identify their religion as: No Religion, Christian, Buddhist, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim or Sikh. For more information please see the GSS harmonised principle for religion.
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2. Coronavirus and vaccine hesitancy data

Coronavirus and vaccine hesitancy, Great Britain
Dataset | Released 2 July 2021
Estimates of vaccine sentiment with breakdowns by different population groups. Analysis based on the Opinions and Lifestyle Survey (OPN).

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3. Measuring the data

Vaccine sentiment

"Vaccine hesitancy" refers to adults who:

  • have been offered a vaccine and decided not to be vaccinated

  • report being very or fairly unlikely to have a vaccine if offered

  • responded "neither likely nor unlikely", "don't know" or "prefer not to say" to the question "if a vaccine for the coronavirus (COVID-19) was offered to you, how likely or unlikely would you be to have the vaccine?"

It should be noted that a small number of respondents reported "prefer not to say". This response is considered to represent those unsure about the vaccine.

"Positive sentiment" refers to adults who:

  • have received a vaccine

  • have been offered a vaccine and are waiting to be vaccinated

  • report being very or fairly likely to have a vaccine if offered

Our survey does not include adults living in care homes or other establishments so will not capture vaccinations in these settings. Owing to small sample sizes, the percentage of adults who have declined the vaccine should be treated with caution.

Vaccine sentiment for those under 18 years

Although the COVID-19 vaccine rollout is currently aimed at those aged 18 years and over, we asked young adults about their likelihood to have a vaccine if offered. Although the majority of these adults have not been offered a vaccine, it is possible for some 16 and 17 year olds to have received, been offered, or declined a COVID-19 vaccine. This younger cohort includes those in the following priority group recommended by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), with other exemptions possible: adults aged 16 to 64 years with underlying health conditions which put them at higher risk of serious disease and mortality. From 18th June 2021, the NHS has also invited individuals who will be 18 years old in the near future to book vaccination appointments for on or after their 18th birthday.

Opinions and Lifestyle Survey

This release contains data and indicators from a module being undertaken through the Office for National Statistics' (ONS) Opinions and Lifestyle Survey (OPN) to understand the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on British society.

Where differences between groups are presented in this bulletin, associated confidence intervals, which are included in the accompanying datasets, indicate their significance.

The analysis presented in this bulletin (covering the period 26 May to 20 June 2021) is an update to the following previously published analysis:

  • 8 March (covering the period 13 January to 7 February 2021)

  • 1 April (covering period 17 February to 14 March 2021)

  • 6 May (covering the period 31 March to 25 April 2021)

  • 9 June (covering period 28 April to 23 May 2021)

Comparisons with data from these previous periods should be made using estimates in the accompanying datasets, which include confidence intervals to indicate whether the differences are significant.

Sampling and weighting

This analysis is based on pooled data, which comprise four waves of data collection covering the following periods: 26 to 30 May, 2 to 6 June, 9 to 13 June and 16 to 20 June, and included 16,180 adults aged 16 years and over in Great Britain. Pooling four waves of data together increases sample sizes, allowing us to explore vaccine sentiment for different groups of the population.

Survey weights were applied to make estimates representative of the population (based on June 2021 population estimates).

Further information on the survey design and quality can be found in the Opinions and Lifestyle Survey QMI.

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Tim Vizard
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