LatAm HCPs trust that vaccines will put an end to the pandemic putting more confidence on those that provide locally a credible evidence story
On March 31, 2021 during the ESOMAR event Transformation and Trust, Fine released the latest results of COVID-19 Tracking study.
This is part of an initiative launched in March 2020 and that has involved responses of over 13,000 doctors in 16 countries.
The report of the 6th wave which took place in March 2021 was based on a sample of 2451 doctors from Brazil, Mexico, Colombia, Argentina and Chile and was focused in the vaccines.
The survey firstly details an evolution of HCPs main challenges showing that the drop in the number of patients seen, although relevant for many and still representing in average a 28% fall compared to pre-pandemic levels, is no longer the main challenge for most physicians as it was during 2020. In fact work overload surges as a growing challenge.
Their main current concern remains the risk of infection in the context of interaction between physicians and patients. This concern is consistent with the fact that almost 60% have been in contact with infected patients in the past week and that the incidence of COVID-19 in the medical population is high and many times the proportion of the general population (by the survey date 21% of the participating HCPs were diagnosed with COVID), especially in Mexico where 30% of professionals report having been infected.
At the time of the survey (March 9-10), 73% of physicians in the region reported having received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose and 43% both doses. This level of vaccination coverage of professionals with at least one dose, was higher in Chile, Brazil and Argentina, while it barely covered about half of the professionals in Colombia and Mexico.
Physicians in LatAm are mostly confident that vaccines will put an end to the pandemic, considering that the evidence supporting them is solid and that the quality of the vaccines available in the region is similar to that of Europe and the United States.
In addition, half of physicians have strong confidence in the safety of vaccines, and the other half believe that although they are not completely safe, vaccination is still more beneficial for the population. Consequently 95% of physicians recommend vaccination to their patients.
Regarding the specific vaccine options, Pfizer’s vaccine clearly leads regionally followed by Astra Zeneca, Sputnik (strong in Argentina and Mexico, but marginal in Brazil and Chile), Moderna, Janssen and Sinovac.
The main drivers that generate trust for the different vaccines were those that contributed to build locally a credible evidence story. In other words the most trusted ones are those that show good results in phase three trials regarding safety, general effectiveness and effectiveness to reduce severe cases and mortality.
The ability to deal with new varieties seems to be les relevant, but this is likely to be affected by the fact that no vaccine is “owning” this attribute which highlights a potential risk scenario.
The made-in-label prestige and the manufacturer reputation are relevant but not always decisive and for instance Sputnik in Argentina or Sinovac in Chile get high trust levels even when they are rated comparatively lower in these prestige variables.
While trust in vaccines ranks high in general, confidence in governments and national vaccination plans is significantly lower.
Only 20% of physicians strongly or somewhat agree with the health policies in place. They collectively estimate that about half of the population would be vaccinated by the end of 2021 and that it would take about 20 months to bring the pandemic under control. The WHO COVAX program does not raise many expectations either.
Chilean physicians are significantly more optimistic than their peers in the region in their evaluation of health policy management, especially with regard to vaccination plans in which they are almost unanimously confident. They estimate that in 11 months the pandemic will be definitively under control in the country (is about half the time estimated by their peers in the region) and that 77% of the population will be vaccinated by the end of the year.
The survey also valued the role of other stakeholders, and stands out that HCPs values a positive role for the pharmaceutical industry in the context of the pandemic. An industry that traditionally had a more criticized image in polls seems to be revalued and 6 out of 10 doctors state that the development of vaccines has contributed to improving their image of the industry, especially of Pfizer, Astra Zeneca and Jannsen.