In the period 8-26 January 2021, 2182 people were interviewed through an online questionnaire. Respondents were recruited through an open invitation in posts on social networks such as Facebook and Instagram, as well as targeted advertising in them. The advertising messages in the network are aimed at persons aged between 16 and 70 on the whole territory of Bulgaria, regardless of their gender or other specific affiliation. Respondents were recruited from all 28 provinces of the country, including district towns, municipal centers and villages.
Respondents averaged 45.9 years (median 45 years), ranging from 16 to over 70 years. Men were only a quarter (26.3%), women 72.9%, and the other sex indicated 0 .9%. The largest share is living in Sofia-city district (37.7%), followed by Plovdiv (10.1%), Varna (8.9%) and Burgas (4.9%). For the purposes of the analysis, the participants were grouped according to their place of residence into four groups: Capital; Plovdiv, Varna and Burgas (24.0%); Veliko Tarnovo, Stara Zagora, Ruse, Blagoevgrad, Pleven and Dobrich (17.0%); all other areas (21.4%). In terms of confidence in the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines, the distribution is similar: 43.5% express confidence, 41.2% distrust and 15.3% cannot answer. Men are more likely to distrust the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines (47.5% compared to 38.5% among women). Significantly higher relative share of those living in Sofia express confidence in the effectiveness of the village, compared to other settlements (54.3% compared to between 33.3 and 39.1%). Respondents were asked to quantify their confidence in the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines on a scale of 1 to 10 (where 1 is the lowest level of confidence and 10 is the highest). The average level of trust is 5.52 (median 6), ie. it is reaffirmed that the respondents are divided without a clear position within the study population. Similarly, the question of confidence in the safety of COVID-19 vaccines was asked, on a scale of 1 to 10. The mean confidence level is 5.05 (median 5), ie. respondents are divided and there is no predominant opinion. To the question “Do you consider yourself informed enough to decide to get vaccinated against COVID-19?” Over half of the participants (58.3%) answered in the affirmative, one in three (31.9%) gave a negative answer, and the remaining 9.8% cannot judge. Men were more likely to say that they were sufficiently informed than women (65.4% compared to 55.8% for women), while women were more likely to say “I can’t judge” (11.4%). compared to 5.1% for men). Participants were asked if they felt they needed additional information on COVID-19 vaccines to make an informed decision. Almost half (48%) answered yes to this question, another 46.8% – no, and one in twenty (5.2%) can not judge.
Public opinion on COVID-19 vaccines is clearly divided. The share of citizens is particularly high (48%), who believe that they need additional information in order to make an informed choice to get vaccinated, which shows the shortcomings in the communication strategy for the promotion of drugs. The share of respondents (75.4%) who believe that a sufficiently detailed and high-quality public campaign is not conducted to inform the public about the effectiveness and safety of vaccines is alarmingly high.