London (England) | Jagran Trending Desk: As the world continues to battle the deadly coronavirus pandemic, a new study has found that "conspiracy theories" and "misinformation" could lead people to turn against COVID-19 vaccines which might prevent "uptake to such an extent that herd immunity will be impossible".

The study, which was conducted on more than 8,000 people in the United States of America (USA) and United Kingdom (UK), found that nearly 54 per cent people would be happy to get vaccinated. However, the number dropped by 6.4 per cent to 46.7 per cent after people viewed misinformation online.

"Vaccines only work if people take them. Misinformation plays into existing anxieties and uncertainty around new (Covid) vaccines, as well as the new platforms that are being used to develop them," Heidi Larson, a professor at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, who co-led the study, was quoted as saying by Reuters.

"This threatens to undermine the levels of COVID-19 vaccine acceptance," added Larson.

The study further claimed that people without a college degree, those in low-income groups and non-whites are more likely to reject a vaccine for the deadly infection that has claimed lives of more than one million people across the globe.

It further found that women are more likely to refuse a COVID-19 vaccine. However, it said that more respondents would accept a vaccine "if it meant protecting family, friends, or at-risk groups".

The study comes as one of the major vaccine efforts showed promising results this week. Pfizer Inc said on Monday its experimental Covid-19 vaccine is more than 90 per cent effective based on interim data from late-stage trials. The data were seen as a crucial step in the battle to contain a pandemic that has killed more than a million people.

(With Reuters inputs)

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma