Researchers from the University of Hong Kong's medical school said on Thursday that the number of people who say they intend to get vaccinated against the coronavirus has dropped substantially.
Out of several hundred people surveyed earlier this month, 46 percent said they would get the jabs, down from 63 percent in a poll last November.
When it comes to which of the vaccines people have faith in, Germany's BioNTech was the clear favourite in the survey, getting the approval of 56 percent of those polled.
Thirty-five percent backed the AstraZeneca jab, while the vaccine made by China's Sinovac came in last, with an acceptance rate of 30 percent.
The survey also found that younger people and those with higher education and income levels are less receptive to Covid vaccines.
Professor Benjamin Cowling, who leads the medical school’s division of epidemiology and biostatistics, said the findings do not necessarily mean the inoculation rate in the SAR will be low.
"I think there are a lot of other people who will be waiting to see what happens, and may well get the vaccine in due course," he said.
Professor Gabriel Leung, who heads HKU’s medical school, said it's not unusual for people to get cold feet now the vaccines are almost here, adding that the majority of survey respondents were concerned about the safety of the shots and any side effects.
He called on people to pull together to beat the pandemic.
"When you've got that kind of chasm in society... that kind of deep mistrust of the authorities following the social unrest, and you have Covid, we should have been doing much worse than we have done. So I think that Hong Kong people should really, looking back over the last year, give ourselves a pat on the back. Well done," he said.
"What we need now is to have that same sense of solidarity... despite our differences that we want to collectively protect everybody and go back to some sort of normality," he said.
Leung also called on the authorities to remain open and scientific about the vaccination programme to earn people's trust, adding that HKU plans to help run a vaccination centre after the Lunar New Year.