Britons split on government handling of COVID-19 vaccine rollout

Connor IbbetsonData Journalist
January 11, 2021, 4:34 PM UTC

Two in five think the government is handling the scheme well, but a similar amount think they are doing badly

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said the COVID-19 vaccine rollout is now a “race against time”, with the government drafting in members of the armed forces to hit its ambitious target of 14 million vaccinations by mid-February.

Meeting that goal will require 2 million doses a week to be administered since the time it was set, and most Britons think that the government will miss that mark.

Now a new YouGov survey shows that Britons are split over the government’s handling of the vaccine rollout, with 41% thinking the government is handling the rollout well compared 45% who think the rollout is being handled badly.

Approval of the government’s handing is highest among Conservative voters (64%) and lower among Lib Dems (31%) and Labour supporters (24%). 

Younger Britons are also more critical of the government’s performance: just 32% of 18 to 24-year olds think the government is handling the scheme well, compared to 52% of the over 65s.

Of those in one of the government’s priority groups, 45% think the scheme is being handled well, compared to 44% who say the opposite.

Among the rest of the population only 38% think the rollout is being handled well and 45% think its being handled badly.

Support for using independent pharmacies for the vaccination programme is high

Last week the government was accused of ignoring the additional capacity that high-street pharmacies could offer to the vaccine rollout, with only NHS-run centres such as GPs surgeries and speciaal vaccination centres currently able to distribute vaccines.

High street pharmacists administer other vaccines, such as the seasonal flu jab, and the majority of Britons (85%) would support them being brought in to assist with the COVID-19 vaccines as well.

Only 7% of the population would be opposed to having high street pharmacies involved in the COVID-19 vaccine programme.

Support for involving non-NHS pharmacies is also universal across voting groups, with 90% of Conservatives, 87% of Labour voters, and 86% of Lib Dems all in favour.

See full results here