Even as the United States continues to witness a surging number of deaths due to the novel coronavirus, a recent Gallup poll revealed that 35% of Americans would still refuse to roll up their sleeves for a free coronavirus vaccine that is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
A closer examination of the data showed that those who would refuse the vaccine are more likely to be Republican. More than 80% of Democrats said they would get vaccinated, while only 47% of Republicans said likewise.
By race, white Americans are significantly more likely than non-white Americans to get vaccinated—67% vs. 59%, respectively.
In looking at different age groups, 76% between eighteen and twenty-nine and 70% of senior citizens said they would get vaccinated. Those in their thirties to fifties showed the most reluctance—for example, only 59% between fifty and sixty-four said they would accept a vaccine.
Other polls have also forecasted possibly low participation rates if a coronavirus vaccine eventually gets green-lighted.
In late May, a poll from the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research indicated that 49% of Americans said they would get vaccinated, 20% said they wouldn’t and 31% said they weren’t sure.
According to a Yahoo News/YouGov poll, conducted between July 28 and 30, only 42% of Americans are planning to get vaccinated for COVID-19. This figure is down from May, when 55% said they would get vaccinated.
Moreover, 34% said they are “very concerned” about the safety of a “fast-tracked” coronavirus vaccine, and another 35% said they are somewhat concerned. In a recent CBS News poll, about half of Americans said they will “wait and see” what happens to others before getting vaccinated themselves.
The FDA confirmed in late July that a vaccine that’s at least 50% effective could be given the clear by December or early next year.
“Obviously, we would like to see it much, much higher,” he said during a conference call alongside National Institutes of Health Director Dr. Francis Collins.
“But 60% is the standard that you do for the cutoff. That’s not unusual. I would like to see the highest percentage that we could possibly get.”
The director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases also noted during a recent Q&A with the Brown University School of Public Health that the chances of a coronavirus vaccine “being 98% effective is not great.”
The U.S. has the most cases by far, with nearly 5.1 million confirmed infections and more than 163,000 deaths.
Ethen Kim Lieser is a Minneapolis-based Science and Tech Editor who has held posts at Google, The Korea Herald, Lincoln Journal Star, AsianWeek and Arirang TV. Follow or contact him on LinkedIn.