More and more Spaniards believe in science: only 6.4% see risks in vaccines, although 20% still trust homeopathy

FECYT presents today the results of its Survey of Social Perception of Science and Technology 2018. The current minister Pedro Duque and Paloma Domingo, director of the Science Foundation, were in charge of making the key points of this study known. It has been carried out since 2002 and serves to find out what the Spanish population thinks about the most relevant science and technology topics.

The study is based on 5,200 interviews conducted in our country and has revealed several aspects that we believe deserve a little reflection. According to the data from the survey, science is a topic of informative interest for 16.3% of the respondents, however when it comes to medical and health topics, we rose to the first place with 37.9%, ahead of other topics like employment or education.

According to the ministry, the data shown in the survey shows the need for a Plan against pseudotherapies since the consumption of treatments without scientific basis is still 20% and even 5% of the population use them to replace treatments effectively. . These are some of the data from the survey, although fortunately in the relevant sections we are better than four years ago.

20% admit to using treatments such as homeopathy or acupuncture

Despite the fact that there are multiple studies that show that homeopathy is useless, still today one in five Spaniards claims to have made use of it. Specifically, 19.6% would have used alternative therapies such as homeopathy or acupuncture as a complement to conventional treatments. But what is more serious is that 5.2% still affirm that they have used these practices as a substitute for medicine.

Among the profiles, a higher proportion stands out for women (24.7%) compared to men (14.2%).Asked about acupuncture, 23.3% of the population believe that it is scientific. Meanwhile, homeopathy receives 21.6% of people who believe in it. They are still very high numbers and where the Government wants to continue offering better scientific training to the population to reduce it.

Fortunately, even though 20% is quite a lot, these data reflect that belief in homeopathy has decreased in recent years. According to the data of this same study, but from 2014, 27.4% trusted homeopathy and another 21% believed slightly.

23.3% of the population believes that acupuncture is scientific, similar figures being observed in the case of homeopathy (21.6%) # PercepciónCiencia2018

- FECYT_Ciencia (@FECYT_Ciencia) November 22, 2018

89.2% of the population trust childhood vaccines

Despite the fact that aspects such as homeopathy are still a matter of debate in an important part of the population, according to the data from the FECYT survey regarding vaccines there are not so many doubts. 89.2% of the population believes that the benefits are greater than the risks and only 6.4% see risks.

Regarding the practical utility of vaccines, only 3.3% of the sample believed that their utility was little or nil. This is the lowest number of the different practices. For example, chemotherapy only doubts 5.7% and antidepressants 23.3%. However, despite the fact that the percentage of opponents is very low, in absolute numbers it still represents close to 1,250,000 anti-vaccines.

It is a very high quantity of anti-vaccines and can carry serious risks to public health, as has already happened with different outbreaks of measles, rubella and mumps (mumps).

Confidence raised by childhood vaccines: 89.2% believe that the benefits are greater than its risks. Confidence increases among people with a higher educational level. 6.4% believe that the risks of childhood vaccines outweigh the benefits # PercepciónCiencia2018

- FECYT_Ciencia (@FECYT_Ciencia) November 22, 2018

The assessment of science is good ...

Interest in science in Spain continues to be greater among men than women, although fortunately since 2008 this gender gap has been narrowing. In general, the assessment reflected in the science survey is positive. Both doctors, scientists and engineers are highly valued, ahead of other professions such as judges, journalists or teachers.

60.9% of the population consider that science and technology offer great benefits, while 24.3% believe that benefits and damages are balanced. Half of the population considers it important to know about science and technology, although a similar number, 51.2%, admits having problems understanding it. A number that increases to 75% in people with primary education.

A reflection of the situation that occurs in Spain regarding science is the opinion that respondents give about the profession of researcher. 53.7% believe that they are poorly paid economically and 58.1% admit that they have little social recognition.

The survey shows that Spanish society has a high valuation of science since 60.9% consider that the benefits of science and technology are greater than their damages # PercepciónCiencia2018

- FECYT_Ciencia (@FECYT_Ciencia) November 22, 2018

.. but there is still work ahead

Among the data there are also several sections where the Spanish continue to be highly suspicious. Some of them are nuclear energy, where 67.5% think they see a lot or a lot of risk, artificial intelligence, where 38.4% are suspicious or even robotic work, where 45.9% see it with concern .

But the issue that most concerns the Ministry of Science is that of vaccines. "It's about reporting with respect"says the minister. Because although we only have 3.3% of vaccines or 6.4% who are suspicious, this represents almost a couple of million people and an important part of our health system. You cannot Forcing the Spanish population to believe in something, but communication can be improved so that we are more and more citizens who believe in the value of science.

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