The 2021 Edelman Trust Barometer shows the emergence of health authorities and members of the scientific community as highly trusted leaders. Some 71 per cent of respondents see the Health Service Executive (HSE) and the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) as trusted bodies, while the World Health Organization (Who) enjoys similar trust levels.
The annual report, now in its 21st year, surveys over 33,000 respondents in 28 countries. An extra supplemental study, which was carried out in Ireland last month, also shows that with the vaccine roll-out underway, 77 per cent said that they are willing to vaccinate, a 12-point increase since November.
The Irish data underlines a sense of urgency among the public for the vaccine: 63 per cent of respondents said that they would take a Covid-19 vaccine as soon as possible – almost double compared to November 2020 (32 per cent). The biggest concern is about the wider economic fall-out from the pandemic among three-quarters of Irish respondents.
It compares to the 63 per cent who say they are concerned about contracting Covid-19. People are also less worried about contracting the virus compared to their concern around pressures on health services outside of Covid-19 (72 per cent) and growing isolation and mental health issues (70 per cent). The report finds that a return to normal life will be a gradual process.
With the vaccination programme ramping up and a greater proportion of the population inoculated in the coming months, most Irish respondents said they would feel comfortable resuming routine activities – 68 per cent said they would socialise outside their household and 65 per cent said they would visit high-street shops. But there is also caution out there.
The report reveals some trepidation among the public about a resumption of activities that might be deemed risky, and only 48 per cent said they would visit a bar and only one in two intended to go on an international holiday. Levels of consumer confidence are also mild, with 65 per cent saying they still intend to save money even when restrictions ease.
The figure rises to 81 per cent among people under 30. Joe Carmody (pictured), managing director, Edelman Ireland, said the report shows that overall that there has been an increase in trust levels in institutions in Ireland, with government and business experiencing the most gains. Trust levels in government increased to 48 per cent, up seven points on 2020.