A third think this group is selfish and one in six go as far as to say the campaigners are bad people. King’s College London and Ipsos Mori quizzed 2,244 people aged 16-75 between November 20 and 24 – before the Pfizer/ BioNTech jab was given the nod. The under 24s were most likely to respect people who discourage others from getting vaccinated.
Those who rely on social media for a lot of information on Covid-19 had a more favourable view of anti-vaxxers.
And people who use WhatsApp and YouTube as their main sources were also less likely to call them stupid or selfish.
One in eight of all those polled said they respected people who will refuse a jab.
The majority – 59 per cent – backed parents’ right to decide whether their child is vaccinated.
But nearly 30 per cent said giving mums and dads a choice was unacceptable.
The research found that people’s likelihood of taking a Covid vaccine is largely unchanged from when they were asked in July.
More than half – 54 per cent – are certain or very likely to get a jab, 19 per cent are fairly likely and 20 per cent are unlikely or definitely will not.
Professor Bobby Duffy, director of KCL’s Policy Institute, said: “People are much less judgmental about those who say they would not get a vaccine themselves than they are about those who are discouraging others – with the public likely to say they have no strong feelings about those who may not get the vaccine themselves.
“Taken together, this suggests the public make a distinction between people making personal choices on vaccination and those trying to influence others not to have the vaccine.
“This is an important message, as we need to engage those who have doubts, not dismiss them, while also acting decisively on the spread of misinformation.”