According to a new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research only 49% of Americans say they would get a COVID-19 vaccine should an effective one be discovered.
The poll, released Wednesday, found 31% were not sure if they would get vaccinated and another 20% said they would refuse.
Forty-two percent of people who do not want a vaccine say they are concerned about getting infected with COVID-19 from it.
These numbers contrast sharply with the effort and speed devoted to finding a vaccine that could mitigate the impact of COVID-19.
Caitlin Oppenheimer, who leads NORC’s public health research thinks the uncertainty is a key element for explaining these results.”There’s still a large amount of uncertainty around taking the vaccine. There is a lot of opportunities to communicate with Americans about the value and the safety of a vaccine.”
While great efforts are being made against the clock, even sacrificing important steps for the development of a vaccine in the shortest possible time the new poll shows the public is indeed skeptical.
Among Americans who say they would not get vaccinated, 7 in 10 worry about safety.
About 4 in 10 from this group say they’re concerned about catching COVID-19 from the shot. And 3 in 10 who do not want a vaccine do not fear to get seriously ill from the coronavirus.
Dr. Francis Collins, who directs the National Institutes of Health, insists safety is the top priority. “Definitely the worst thing that could happen is if we rush through a vaccine that turns out to have significant side effects,” said Collins.
On the other side, those who want a vaccine, the AP-NORC poll found protecting themselves, their family and the community are the top reasons.
The poll found just 25% of African Americans and 37% of Hispanics would get a vaccine compared to 56% of whites.
Political divisions are also reflected in desire for a vaccine. More than half of Democrats call a vaccine necessary for reopening, compared to about a third of Republicans. While 62% of Democrats would get the vaccine, only 43% of Republicans say the same.