Australians and New Zealanders have the world’s highest level of trust in scientists, according to a global survey of more than 119,000 people in 113 countries.
The Wellcome Global Monitor, conducted by Gallup World Poll, surveyed people between August 2020 to February 2021 about their views on science during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The results, which were published earlier this week, found 62 per cent of people in either Australia or New Zealand said they trusted scientists “a lot”, compared to 41 per cent globally.
Trust in scientists also increased during the pandemic, the survey found.
Since 2018, there had been a 15 percentage point increase in people in Australia and New Zealand who said they had high trust in scientists.
Globally, that sentiment increased nine percentage points since 2018.
Survey respondents in sub-Saharan Africa said they trusted scientists the least compared to the rest of the world, at 19 per cent.
Beth Thompson, associate director of policy at Wellcome, said the survey also highlighted a “clear willingness and generosity” of people in mainly high-income countries to prevent and cure illnesses wherever they happened.
“However, since this survey was conducted, stark inequalities in the response to the Covid-19 pandemic have unforgivably left low- and middle-income countries further behind particularly with access to vaccines,” she said.
Thompson said the report provided a snapshot of people’s views in 2020, prior to the availability of vaccines that have proven to be effective.
But, she added, it showed the importance of listening and understanding people’s views.
“These can help design more sustainable, collaborative and equitable solutions to end the pandemic and tackle other urgent global health challenges.”