Cypriots are the most suspicious in Europe over COVID-19 vaccines, while one in four said they would not get vaccinated, according to the latest Eurobarometer survey.
The vast majority of Cypriots ( eight out of 10) feel that COVID jabs were developed and approved under pressure, and not enough time is given for their safety to be put to the test.
Cyprus has recorded the highest percentage of people’s reluctance to COVID-19 vaccines in the EU, as 81% of Cypriots expressed concerns over the speed vaccines were put together compared to the EU average of 52%.
Furthermore, 84% of Cypriots asked said they believed COVID-19 vaccines could cause side effects a few years down the road, with the EU average over future side effects was 67%.
Younger age groups were more concerned, with 90% aged 15 to 39 believe COVID-19 vaccines will have unforeseen side effects. For ages 40-54, it was 88% and over 55, 72%.
Cypriots are also sceptical over whether vaccines are the only way out of the pandemic.
Only 46% of people surveyed believed this to be the case.
The average percentage in the EU of people placing their trust in vaccines to end the pandemic was 70%.
Some 45% of Cypriots believe there are other ways out of the pandemic, and authorities should be looking at other measures, compared to 25% in the EU.
And 40% of Cypriots said they would prefer to get vaccinated at a much later stage, while the equivalent percentage in the EU is 21%.
Moreover, 26% of Cypriots said they would not get vaccinated at all, compared to 12% in the EU.
Just 15% of Cypriots said they have been vaccinated or will do so when given the opportunity, compared to the EU average of 44%.
Asked who they thought to be a reliable source of information on vaccines, two-thirds of Cypriots (64%) and Europeans (67%) singled out health professionals, doctors, nurses, and pharmacists.
Half of Cypriots (53%) were satisfied with measures taken by their government to stem the spread of the virus, and 49% were satisfied with the way the EU handled the crisis.
The Eurobarometer was carried out between 12 February and 18 March.