'헬스줌인'에서는원어민 의사(M.D.) 찰리 비튜라웡(Charles Viturawong) 매니저가 국내외 헬스케어 산업과 관련된 트렌드와 인사이트를 소개합니다. 찰리 비튜라웡 매니저는 현재 엔자임헬스에서 의학 프레젠데이션 및 의학 논문 코칭 서비스 '닥터잉글리시(Dr.English)'를 담당하고 있으며, 헬스케어 의학 자문과 글로벌 헬스케어 리서치를 활발하게 진행중입니다.
The Vaccine is Here!
Well, its official. COVID-19 vaccinations have begun in Korea. This is another important step towards getting “back to normal.” Of course, we still have a ways to go and we need to continue to act responsibly, but it is progress.
The other day, I was chatting with some of my friends, and a number of them expressed hesitancy about getting vaccinated. Based on some news stories I had read, I knew that vaccine hesitancy was a problem in the U.S., but I must admit I was a little surprised to see it in Korea. My impression was that Korea does fairly well with vaccinations, including the flu vaccine, so I expected the same with COVID-19.
I was curious if this was just the people around me or a general sentiment, so went searching for some poll data. A poll conducted by the Korea Society Opinion Institute from Feb. 15-19 found that about 46% of Koreans were willing to get vaccinated immediately if a vaccine is available. Another 46% or so said they wanted to wait and see how the situation develops, while 5% said they would outright refuse vaccination.
Ipsos conducted a global poll that included Korea about 2 ½ weeks earlier which provides a useful reference point. In their poll, 31% of Koreans strongly agreed that they would get a vaccine if it were available to them and 47% somewhat agreed. If we equate the strongly agree group in this poll with the immediate vaccine group in the previous poll, we can see that public opinion has shifted 14% in the last 2-3 weeks. This is a promising trend, and something the U.S. also saw as they rolled out their vaccination program.
Ipsos also asked respondents why they didn’t want the vaccine, and 51% of Koreans said they were worried about side effects and 33% said they thought the clinical trials were rushed. This explains why there are so many Koreans who want to wait. Given that it will be a while before priority groups are fully vaccinated and the general public will be eligible, there is an opportunity for public health officials and healthcare communicators to engage the public and reassure them of the safety of the vaccine and the reliability of the data backing it.
I am not in any of the priority groups, but I can’t wait for my turn to come and will be at the front of the line when it does!
Medical Education and International Communication Team