A new survey indicates that 58 per cent of Americans are willing to get a coronavirus vaccine as soon as its made available.
But that number is down about 10 per cent from a poll asking the same question in mid-August. At that time, 69 per cent of American respondents had said that they would get the vaccine.
There are currently two major US clinical trials for coronavirus vaccines, which have started up again following concerns about safety. It’s been said that an approved vaccine could be available as early as the end of November.
The survey, conducted in early October by STAT and The Harris Poll, showed that the drop in those willing to take a first-round vaccine was steeper among black Americans than white ones.
A new poll shows that 58 per cent of Americans would get a coronavirus vaccine once its available. A doctor is shown while taking part in a clinical trial for a COVID vaccine
Pollsters found that people were less likely to be interested in getting a vaccine in October, than they were in August. The marked decrease was notable among black Americans
Of white Americans surveyed, 59 per cent said they would get the vaccine – an 11 per cent drop from the 70 per cent that had said they would in mid-August.
Meanwhile, only 43 per cent of black Americans said they would get the vaccine, representing a significant, 22 per cent decrease from the 65 per cent who had said the would do it in mid-August.
The pollsters said their findings indicated that there was ‘growing concern that the regulatory approval process for a Covid-19 vaccine has been politicized by the Trump administration in the run-up to the presidential election.’
Additionally, the pollsters said, the sharper decrease along racial lines was indicative of an ‘ever-widening chasm’ between how white and black Americans see the country’s health care system, views which have been intensified during the pandemic.
‘When we’re looking at the intersection of vaccine and politics, everything is exaggerated. It’s not just racial disparities, but health disparities,’ Harris Poll managing director Rob Jekielek said.
‘Black [individuals] are disproportionately less likely to be within 60 minutes of a primary care physician, which also means they’re less likely to get useful information and instead use a hospital emergency room as a primary mechanism for care. They’re also less likely to have insurance.’
Pollsters said respondents were concerned about how politicized the FDA vaccine approval process had become in recent months (file image)
People interviewed by CBS News revealed that they had varying levels of confidence in a coronavirus vaccine and expressed degrees of hesitation about whether they would get one
During interviews with CBS News, a selection of Americans discussed their levels of confidence in a coronavirus vaccine and whether they would get it as soon as one became available.
‘We just don’t know enough about the vaccine yet. I’m young, I’m healthy. I exercise. And I’m low risk,’ said Chad St. Clair, 37, of California. He noted that he was very unlikely to get the vaccine immediately and had virtually no confidence in the vaccine.
He added that his disinclination to get the vaccine is because he doesn’t ‘want to panic. I know a lot of people who have had it and have recovered nicely, as well as our leader of our country.’
President Trump revealed he had tested positive for coronavirus on October 2 and then went to the hospital that night. He was treated with the antiviral remdesivir and given the anti-inflammatory steroid dexamethasone, and returned to the White House on October 5 and has spent recent days on the campaign trail.
Seana-Marie Sesma, 55, also of California, to CBS News that ‘though the FDA has done the majority of good things, they have also taken products off the market that they approved at one point.
She added that ‘We don’t know much about the vaccine or the long-term — short-term or long-term effects.’
Sesma noted that she was a six on a scale of one to 10 about her confidence in a coronavirus vaccine.
Neuroscience college student Lissi Marshall, 20, of Philadelphia, who said she was a seven or eight on the scale, said that although she trusted the science behind a vaccine, she would still wait a few months before getting it.
But, Marshall noted, that she would ‘definitely change my mind’ about getting the vaccine if, after several months, those that participated in preliminary vaccine research ‘start to come out with any side effects.’
Californian Adam Davis, 37, who said he was a 7.5 on the scale, said that ‘if I see people actually taking it and working, I’d be more inclined to do it.’
Michigan resident Alyssa Kogut, 33, meanwhile, said, ‘I know this virus, and I know what it can do to you.’
Kogut, who said her vaccine confidence scale rating was an eight, added that: ‘I have diabetes, and my daughter has asthma. She’s only 7. So I would definitely take it to protect me and my kids.’
Pollsters also asked respondents about whether they were more likely to wear masks and social distance following President Trump’s coronavirus diagnosis
Dr. Kathryn Stephenson, director of the Clinical Trials Unit of the Center for Virology and Vaccine Research at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, said that ‘it’s very unusual for a vaccine to have a long-term side effect.’
Stephenson, who worked on the early development of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine candidate, noted that ‘Most of the side effects associated with vaccines have to do with upfront. So something like an allergic reaction,’ which she said was something ‘true for all vaccines.’
The seeming rush to get a coronavirus vaccine out has led to public concerns about the impact of its unusually truncated development, as compared with the lengthy timeline seen with other vaccines.
Stephenson said that with the coronavirus vaccine, a lot of the typical delays – applying for grant money, negotiating with pharmaceutical companies – were taken out of the equation.
She said that it was then possible to fast track the coronavirus vaccine, because ‘everybody knew that this was something we had to do, and there was a lot of funding.’ The pharmaceutical company negotiations, were then ‘instant.’
Other findings from the STAT and The Harris Poll showed that about 40 per cent of Americans – both Republicans and Democrats – said they were either somewhat or much more likely to get the coronavirus vaccine when it’s ready following Trump having tested positive for the virus.
However, 41 per cent of respondents said that Trump’s diagnosis hadn’t changed their mind about getting the vaccine, while 19 per cent said that it had made them somewhat or much less likely to get it when immediately available.
On the issue of wearing masks following Trump’s diagnosis, 57 per cent said that they were now somewhat or much more likely to wear a mask, while 36 per cent said their positions hadn’t changed.
Only seven per cent reported that they were somewhat or much less likely to wear a mask.
Republican respondents said that they were 55 per cent more likely to wear a mask following Trump’s diagnosis, while Democrats said they were 66 per cent more likely to do so.
Similar sets of statistics applied to the issue of social distancing, following Trump’s diagnosis, even among party lines.
The online poll sampled 2,050 people from October 7 to 10. Pollsters said it was weighted to ensure the sample was representative of the general US population.