Goal of global vaccine distribution and equity seen in symbols of syringe and globe on wood grain background with copy space.

2022 | Ferdinand Geissler, Felix Hartmann, Macartan Humphreys, Heike Klüver and Johannes Giesecke

Public support for global vaccine sharing in the COVID-19 pandemic: Evidence from Germany

By September 2021 an estimated 32% of the global population was fully vaccinated for COVID-19.

But the global distribution of vaccines was extremely unequal, with 72% or more vaccinated in the ten countries with the highest vaccination rates and less than 2% in the ten countries with the lowest vaccination rates.
Given that governments need to secure public support for investments in global vaccine sharing, it is important to understand the levels and drivers of public support for international vaccine solidarity. Using a factorial experiment administered to more than 10,000 online survey respondents in Germany in 2021, we demonstrate that the majority of German citizens are against global inequalities in vaccine distribution. Respondents are supportive of substantive funding amounts, on the order of the most generous contributions provided to date, though still below amounts that are likely needed for a successful global campaign. Public preferences appear largely to be driven by intrinsic concern for the welfare of global populations though are in part explained by material considerations—particularly risks of continued health threats from a failure to vaccinate globally. Strategic considerations are of more limited importance in shaping public opinion; in particular we see no evidence for free riding on contributions by other states. Finally, drawing on an additional survey experiment, we show that there is scope to use information campaigns highlighting international health externalities to augment public support for global campaigns.

Photo: Florence-Joseph McGinn / Shutterstock / Goal of global vaccine distribution and equity seen in symbols of syringe and globe on wood grain background with copy space

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