February 1st 2022
Big Corona Study compares now to one year ago: more handshakes and kisses, less working from home
Of the vaccinated 12–17 year-olds, eight out of ten would get a booster vaccine if it were possible. This is evident from a new round of the Big Corona Study. The scientists also compared many parameters to a year ago: we shake hands or kiss twice as often, and mental well-being is going in the right direction.
On Tuesday 1 February, all those interested could take part in the Big Corona Study for the 45th time – an initiative of UAntwerp, in cooperation with UHasselt, KU Leuven, ULB and supported by a financial boost from the Research Foundation Flanders (FWO). More than 13,800 Belgians took some time to complete the questionnaire.
The scientists presented participants with a number of questions about vaccination, among other things. Vaccination remains a hot topic: think of the discussion around a possible booster vaccine for 12–17 year-olds. Some interesting results:
Of respondents whose eldest child is between 5 and 11 years old, 42.5% said that their child had already been vaccinated. 11.2% will definitely or probably have their child vaccinated, 7.7% maybe and 38.6% probably or definitely not.
The main reasons for not vaccinating a child between the ages of 5 and 11 are:
. I think COVID-19 is not serious enough for children (70%)
. I think my child is at negligible risk from the coronavirus (56%)
. I think that the safety of COVID-19 vaccines is not sufficiently guaranteed (53%)
. I don’t think my child needs a COVID-19 vaccine because they have already had COVID-19 (38%)
. I think the vaccine was developed too quickly to be effective (34%)
79.4% of the 12–17 year-olds who had already received their first vaccination would probably or definitely also get a booster vaccine. 11.6% said they might do so, only 9% would probably or definitely not get a booster vaccine. ‘So there is little reluctance for a possible booster vaccine’, the researchers say. ‘The figures are a lot higher than for the first vaccination of younger children.’
Politicians are currently debating implementing possible mandatory vaccination for all adults. Of the participants in the Big Corona Study, 74.4% agreed with mandatory vaccination. 18.1% are against, 7.5% don’t know.
The Big Corona Study has been running since the beginning of the corona pandemic in March 2020. The percentages and averages given are always reweighted for sample representativeness against the general Belgian population by age, sex, education level and province. This allows the researchers to make interesting comparisons. For example, they compared a number of parameters in February 2021 with the situation in February 2022.
‘Many people have the feeling that we will not get out of this misery. The pandemic is not over yet, but if we compare these indicators, we can see that some progress has been made. Look, for example, at the number of people who shake hands or give a kiss to non-household members: this has doubled. The number of people working exclusively from home has halved. Mental well-being is also going in the right direction, with the GHQ-12 barometer going from 3.17 to 2.46. The lower the number, the better people’s mental well-being. But keep in mind that – as in the past two years – certain subgroups remain more mentally vulnerable.’
Beginning Feb 2021
Beginning Feb 2022
Weekly average # of hospitalisations
People in intensive care
GHQ-12 (mental well-being)
Trust in government Score 0–7 (7 = full trust)
3.13 (23 Feb)
Physical interactions: shaking hands/giving kisses outside family in the past week
Percentage of participants who worked exclusively from home last week
Percentage of participants whose income has decreased because of the pandemic
15% (for the year 2020 compared to 2019)
16% (for the year 2021 compared to 2019)
Do you know anyone close to you who tested positive in the past two months