Two in five people in Ireland believe the world will never be entirely free of the Covid-19 pandemic, a new Ipsos poll reveals today.
It comes amid another summer wave as 796 patients with Covid-19 are in hospital and warnings of a further surge this winter.
While 39pc of respondents believe that Covid-19 will be with us in some form forever, half believe it will end eventually.
Around 10pc insist the pandemic is already over.
The findings have emerged in a public attitudes poll carried out in June which was commissioned by the Irish Pharmaceutical Healthcare Association (IPHA), which represents the drugs industry.
When asked about vaccines, 82pc of respondents said in general they were effective.
The findings indicated 91pc of adults aged over 18 have been vaccinated against Covid-19, with three in four people having received at least one booster vaccine dose for the disease.
The HSE is concerned that only around half of the group eligible for a second booster – the over-65s and the very immunocompromised – have availed of it so far.
The worry is that vaccine fatigue might also impact on the next round of boosters which are expected to be offered to the general population in the autumn.
The poll showed one in four people, or 25pc, say they are more likely to get vaccinated for other diseases as a result of getting protected against Covid-19.
Meanwhile, 76pc said they had confidence in the evidence around vaccines with over half able to list common jabs to prevent diseases including measles, mumps and rubella.
Just under half of people, or 48pc, have not received adult vaccinations for diseases other than Covid-19. These diseases could include flu, mumps, rubella, Hepatitis B, whooping cough and pneumococcal disease.
Bernard Mallee, IPHA’s director of communications and advocacy, said: “Covid-19 vaccination has substantially altered the course of the pandemic, saving tens of millions of lives globally.
“But people are far from putting the pandemic behind them. Epidemiologists say the pattern of recurring waves is likely to persist. Ensuring that we have answers for variants of concern is the work of scientists in our industry.
“That we have very strong levels of vaccination, including take-up of booster doses, shows that people have confidence in science as the best defence against infection. Vaccination is effective in stopping serious illness and death.
“Encouragingly, a significant majority of people believe that vaccines, in general, are effective. But we would urge greater take-up among adults of vaccines for diseases other than Covid-19 where research shows there is a significant gap in coverage.
“Vaccination helps us to stay safe throughout life. It means we don’t have to worry so much about diseases like smallpox, rubella, measles, pneumonia, tuberculosis and polio that used to torment communities across the country.”
He said that according to a study, published in The Lancet in June, vaccinations prevented almost 20 million deaths from Covid-19 in 185 countries and territories between December 2020 and December 2021.
The most recent ESRI tracker survey on public behaviour found people rank measures involving taking action – such as wearing a mask, getting vaccinated or working from home – to be more effective than avoiding household visits, reducing capacity at weddings and funerals and hospitality restrictions.