SEOUL, May 5 (Yonhap) -- More than 60 percent of South Koreans said they were willing to get COVID-19 vaccine shots, but the number of those who said they would has dropped compared with in March, a survey showed Wednesday.
Of 943 unvaccinated respondents, 61.4 percent said they were willing to be inoculated, while 19.6 percent said they would not receive one, according to a Hankook Research survey commissioned by the government.
The survey was conducted on 1,000 adults over age 18 from April 27-29.
Compared with the previous survey carried out in March, the number of people who said they would get the shots dropped by 6.6 percentage points. Those who answered they refuse to be vaccinated rose by 6.7 percentage points.
More than 84 percent of the respondents said they were reluctant to get vaccinated because they were worried about the side effects. Nearly 67 percent said they could not trust if the vaccines would work, while 44.8 percent said it is because they have no choice over the vaccine type.
But 89.5 percent of the 57 vaccinated people said they would recommend others receive the shots, up 5.1 percentage points from the March survey. They cited the need to protect their families and form herd immunity, among others.
The government plans to achieve its 70 percent national vaccination target based on the first doses by September and create herd immunity by November.
Yoon Tae-ho, chief of the Central Disaster Management Headquarters, said the rise in the vaccine recommendation rate is encouraging and that the public perception will naturally change as more people will get the vaccines and that will hopefully lead to more recommendations.
"The government will make efforts to step up support and guidance regarding the excessive concerns about the side effects," Yoon said.
The survey also found that 82.9 percent of the respondents would agree with the government on a further tightening of distancing rules.
Of the respondents, 97.3 percent said they always wear a mask and 84.6 percent said they feel stressed by the prolonged pandemic.