Almost half of Irish people do not have confidence in the EU’s Covid-19 vaccines strategy

The Red C poll also found there is still strong support among Irish people for remaining a part of the European Union
Almost half of Irish people do not have confidence in the EU’s Covid-19 vaccines strategy

The poll showed the over 65 age group had the most confidence in the EU vaccine strategy (58%), while the 45-54 age group had the least confidence in the strategy. Picture: Stephanie Lecocq, Pool via AP

Almost half of Irish people do not have confidence in the EU’s Covid-19 vaccines strategy, according to a new survey.

The Red C poll, commissioned by European Movement Ireland, found 48% of Irish people do not have confidence in the EU’s strategy for Covid-19 vaccines.

The poll is released as the European Medicines Agency issued its opinion that the benefits of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine outweigh its risks, and as the EU secured an additional 100m doses of the Pfizer vaccine. 

The poll, which took place in late March, "largely reflects negative news coverage over previous months", according to Noelle O'Connell, CEO of European Movement Ireland.

Less than half (45%) said they had confidence in the roll-out, while 7% of those surveyed were unsure.

Ms O'Connell said confidence was to be expected.

"It's not a great secret that the initial vaccine rollout strategy across the EU was turbulent, but that was largely down to supply issues," she said. 

"Perhaps if the fieldwork had taken place in May or June as more supply comes on stream... arguably that sentiment would change and possibly improve."

The poll showed the over 65 age group had the most confidence in the strategy (58%), while the 45-54 age group had the least confidence in the strategy, with just 39% of respondents happy with it.

“We also see reluctance to give up control over certain areas of national importance," Ms O'Connell noted, speaking to Newstalk Breakfast.

Just 35% of those polled were in favour of giving the EU more control over healthcare policy if that would mean losing some control at a national level, while less than a third of people would support more political or economic integration if it meant losing control over key economic policy such as tax.

While the poll reflected concerns surrounding the EU's vaccine rollout, there is still strong support for remaining a part of the Union.

More than eight out of 10 Irish people back staying in the EU, according to the poll, however just 53% of respondents believe the EU is moving in the right direction.

This suggests "there is work to do if we want to maintain the strong support for membership in the years ahead," Ms O'Connell said.

The poll also found that 71% of people believe the EU should do more to regulate digital media platforms, while just over one-third believe the EU is doing enough to combat climate change.

The Red C poll was conducted between March 19 and 25 this year among a sample of 1,003 people aged 18 and over.

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