A vaccine usually takes 10 years to develop, and up to 40 percent of people in the U.S. already question the safety of vaccines anyway, so the push to develop one at warp speed for coronavirus begs the question: will people actually be willing to be vaccinated?
Moderna, one of the leading companies in the vaccine race, has begun phase three of its vaccine trials. It plans to enroll 30,000 volunteers and complete the trial in just a few months, rather than years as trials normally require.
But even if a free vaccine is available by the end of 2020, 70 percent of respondents in a new CBS News poll indicated that they will wait and see before getting the vaccine, or never get one. Fewer than one in three said they’ll get the vaccine right away.
Even among those most at risk for covid-19 — older than age 65 — just 27 percent said they would get the vaccine right away. And those who identify as liberals are more than twice as likely to get the vaccine immediately compared to conservatives.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top U.S. infectious disease expert, told Reuters that a coronavirus vaccine could arrive in early 2021. Many Americans aren’t ready for it, Marketwatch reported.
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Other media outlets and polling organizations have conducted their own surveys with results that differ from CBS’s.
About half of African Americans, who have been disproportionately affected by the coronavirus, said they were somewhat or very interested in a vaccine. That compares to 67 percent of whites, 71 percent of Hispanics and 77 percent of Asian American respondents. This aligns with a Reuters/Ipsos poll from May, Marketwatch reported.
Yahoo News and YouGov have been polling Americans for several months. The most recent survey released this week finds that just 42 percent of Americans said they planned to get vaccinated if and when a vaccine becomes available — down from 55 percent in late May, and 46 percent in early July.
Estimates suggest that 70-to-90 percent of the U.S. would need to be vaccinated to achieve herd immunity and stop covid-19 from spreading, Marketwatch reported.
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Willingness to get vaccinated differs based on whether or not poll respondents trust the media, where they live, their political party, education, income and other factors, Marketwatch reported.
There was a correlation between education level and income in willingness to get a coronavirus vaccine — 78 percent of those with at least a bachelor’s degree said they planned to get vaccinated, compared to 58 percent of those who didn’t finish high school. More than three quarters (78 percent) of those earning six figures and 59 percent earning less than $25,000 said they intended to vaccinate.
Trust is a major factor in whether or not the about 20,000 Americans in the new national survey said they would seek out a coronavirus vaccine, Marketwatch reported. “Those who trust doctors, hospitals, scientists and researchers ‘a lot’ were almost four times more likely to say they would consider getting a covid-19 vaccination over those who trust them ‘not at all.’ And whether one believes the media is feeding them ‘fake news’ also matters, as 82% of those who trust the news media would get vaccinated, compared to 48% of those who don’t trust it.”