Citizens know the rules, comply with them, trust scientists and have a sense of responsibility towards others. As the year of the pandemic is coming to an end, it seems strange to insist on that message of rare normality amid the daily noise of political controversy and the death and hospitalization figures.
But this is what the data from the Cosmo-Spain study show, promoted by the World Health Organization (WHO) to find out how citizens perceive the risks of covid and the restrictions it causes.
The researcher Carmen Rodríguez Blázquez (Cádiz, 1971), from the National Epidemiology Center, is working on this study, which has just presented data from its third wave, collected at the end of November, when vaccines began to materialize as a real tool to help us overcome this global health crisis.
The percentage of Spaniards who say that the covid makes them feel depressed has increased slightly compared to the previous survey (up to 42%). Half of those surveyed believe that the worst of the pandemic is already being experienced and 80% respond that crowded places in closed spaces are the most dangerous, according to data from this work,
What are the main novelties of the third wave ? The most important thing is that people comply, continue to maintain the basic preventive measures of mask use in more than 90%, ventilate closed spaces … There has been a good dissemination, that must be recognized by the media, who have done enough to spread that basic knowledge about preventive measures.
And people respond very well in that regard. Even most people check to see if their mask is compliant. The percentage of people who would be willing to get vaccinated has dropped a little bit, although we must bear in mind that the question we ask is “if it were available tomorrow” and people say “tomorrow, I don’t think so.”
In fact, if you ask the reasons for not getting vaccinated, more than 50% tell you that they would wait for a next vaccination. I don’t think it’s bad news
There is a perception that the rules are confusing , but people follow them. We are quite optimistic, there are quite a few people who comply. In the media many times those who do not appear, because of course, the news is the people who fail to comply, but the people are complying reasonably well, they have a reasonably high level of knowledge.
Are there notable differences with other countries? It is all at very similar levels. With whom we have compared the most is Germany and it is striking that the results are very similar. It seems that in Europe people have a very similar level of knowledge, perception of risk and trust in institutions.
If people perform equally well in Germany and Spain, how do you explain such significant differences in incidence? Obviously, the management of the epidemic has much to do with individual responsibility , but also the circumstances of each country, social determinants are very important.
There are many studies that analyze how the pandemic evolves in different social layers, comparing deprived neighborhoods with those that are not, and it is seen that these social determinants are very important .
Probably the difference between Spain and other countries is there. If you do not provide people with teleworking measures or preventive measures or if you focus only on negative messages: you cannot go out, you cannot see your family, no, no, no … get tired.
“As soon as the whole process begins and people see that it is working well, they will be much less reluctant to get vaccinated”
Has there been a serious erosion of trust in the authorities? Trust in institutions in general has dropped a little bit, but there has been no great erosion.
Confidence in what scientists and health workers say is the highest. We recommend that you use that figure to convey the information. In my opinion, it should not be transmitted by politicians as well as by scientists or health workers.
That is where the vaccination communication strategy goes .It is a good idea, from what we see and from what we talk with other experts, who have also perceived it. The fact that it is a doctor, health personnel, a scientist who gives the information about the vaccine or any other of the measures increases confidence.
From September to November, the percentage of Spaniards who doubt the vaccine due to fear of health risks has decreased. Is the message that it is safe getting through?
Yes, probably. It influences that it is seen that vaccines are already being approved, that the vaccination process is already there. The moment the process begins in a more massive way, people will lose that fear.
What do you think about the measures in case of sprouts? The most accepted measure is to unify the regulations. People get very confused if an autonomy or a neighborhood has some measures or others crossing the sidewalk.
And the second most accepted, although it has dropped a little, is to confine the most affected areas, which seems to contradict the previous one a bit. It must be borne in mind that the most drastic measures have costs of all kinds: emotional, economic, very high work. For example, a new confinement is not easy to accept.
“People are willing to comply with preventive measures because they feel responsible to protect the most vulnerable, not because others are going to get angry”