The COVID-19 pandemic emerged quickly and destructively. In December 2019, the world watched as Wuhan went into lockdown, swiftly followed by the rest of China. Over the coming months, the virus spread from country to country, landing the UK in strict lockdown by the mid-March 2020 – four months to disrupt two countries almost 5,000 miles apart from each other. The death toll since has been devastating: 2.79 million deaths globally to date.
In the period between 2019 and 2021, YouGov became one of the leading responders to the COVID-19 pandemic in combatting the global health emergency.
YouGov began tracking important COVID related data early from January 2020, with a globally syndicated COVID-19 tracker by April 2020 across 29 countries in four continents. Important measures have ranged from policy compliance behaviour, confidence in government handling, to support for different national measures in containing the virus. Data collection is still on-going, providing over a year of historical pandemic data.
Imperial College London’s Institute of Global Health Innovation developed many of these measures with YouGov, with the WHO and other national institutions across the world, who have used the data to inform their response the pandemic. The tracker now has over 500,000 participants worldwide.
As the pandemic has evolved over the year, YouGov has also expanded to collect data about vaccination willingness, launching another 24 country study into vaccine willingness and measuring vaccine perceptions in 17 countries. Data is once again freely available to the public.
I would like to personally thank the 527,000 participants (and rising) of the Imperial College London and YouGov COVID-19 tracker. Their shared experiences, opinions, health behaviours, and attitudes around COVID-19 topics have helped scientists and policy advisors gather evidence to answer crucial questions about health policy interventions. Thanks to them, many of the world’s leading health and policy institutions have an invaluable understanding of what is effective in disrupting virus transmission, why people do or do not vaccinate, and how crucial trust is for national institutions in implementing national health policies.
Following the push for COVID-19 data, YouGov has since started to expand into other health areas, working with leading organisations to provide crucial insight about opinions, behaviour, and health around the world. Examples include the World Happiness Report and the European Public Health Alliance. YouGov has also launched over 35 health opinion data trackers, which continues YouGov’s aim to provide as much open data to the public as possible. YouGov Chat has also launched its own Health channel, tapping into the opinions and thoughts of thousands of people across 17 different countries, in 12 languages, on a weekly basis.