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Europeans are willing to prioritise COVID-19 vaccines for individuals at risk in the Global South over those in their own countries, suggests a study published today in eLife.

The study of individuals from six countries finds that Europeans support transferring COVID-19 vaccines to poorer nations and prioritising those with the greatest need regardless of their country of residence.

Vaccine nationalism, in which countries secure vaccines for their populations without regard to global vaccine needs, has been widespread during the pandemic. This trend leads to disproportionate pandemic impacts in countries with limited health resources and aggravates global health inequity. In low-incomes countries, it is estimated that only around 20% of individuals have received a vaccine dose. The unchecked spread of the virus in some regions can also promote the emergence of new variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that can spread globally and prolong the pandemic.

“Understanding public preferences for global COVID-19 vaccine distribution is paramount to driving more equitable vaccine policies,” says Janina Steinert, Assistant Professor at the School of Social Sciences and Technology at the Technical University of Munich, voltaren gegen akne inversa Germany. “Governments are not likely to donate vaccines to less wealthy countries or participate in global vaccine alliances if they think they will pay the price for it at the ballot box.” Steinert and Henrike Sternberg, a research associate and doctoral candidate at Technical University of Munich, were co-lead authors of the study.

To measure public sentiment about vaccine distribution in Europe, the team surveyed 6,030 individuals open to vaccination but not yet vaccinated against COVID-19 in France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Spain and Sweden. The surveys were completed in Germany in April 2021 amidst the third COVID-19 wave and in the other five countries during a relative pandemic lull in June 2021.

The survey included eight questions on whether participants would prioritise person A or B for a COVID-19 vaccine. In each scenario, the participants chose between a person in their country, with a robust health system, or a person in a low-income country with fewer healthcare resources. The prospective vaccine candidates varied by age, their risk of dying from COVID-19, and their employment status.

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