British public getting keener for COVID-19 vaccination - poll

FILE PHOTO: People, of which one in a wheel chair, arrive at the Winter Gardens venue which has been converted for use as a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccination centre, in Blackpool, Britain January 25, 2021. REUTERS/Jason Cairnduff

LONDON (Reuters) - The British public have grown more enthusiastic about getting a COVID-19 vaccination as the number of cases has mounted, and almost half think it should be mandatory, an opinion poll published on Thursday showed.

Seventy-seven percent of respondents in the poll conducted by market research firm Kantar said they have already had or would have a COVID-19 vaccine, up from 65% in December.

Seventeen percent said they would not be vaccinated, down from 23% in December. Just under a quarter of those who do not want to be vaccinated said they would consider it if they received more safety information.

Britain has rolled out one of the world’s fastest vaccination programmes after suffering Europe’s highest death toll from COVID-19. Deaths are still rising and now exceed 100,000.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said progress on vaccinations will determine how quickly he will lift a third national lockdown that has hit the economy.

Some 49% of Britons think the government should make coronavirus vaccination compulsory, with 40% against - an idea the government has rejected.

The Kantar poll showed 39% of respondents found it harder to balance their household budget than 12 months ago, the highest share since the start of pandemic and up from 31% in December.

On Brexit, the poll showed that nearly seven in 10 respondents expected their regular shop for food to become more expensive as a result of Britain leaving the European Union, compared with 5% who thought it will become cheaper.

Kantar interviewed 1,100 people online between Jan. 21 and Jan. 25.

Reporting by William Schomberg, editing by David Milliken