America already has a serious problem with convincing people to social distance and to wear masks to limit the spread and transmission of COVID-19. And, if a new study is any indication, it seems as though the U.S. is also going to have an uphill battle once a widespread and presumably effective coronavirus vaccine is finally available to the public.
The national study, which was conducted by Pew Research Center from Sept. 8-13 among a sampling of 10,093 adults, found that Americans who are interested or planning to get a vaccine has plummeted since a similar survey was taken in May.
Now, only 51% of adults say they would “definitely or probably” get a COVID-19 vaccine if it were available today, compared to 72% in May. Nearly half of adults, 49%, say they “definitely or probably would not” get the coronavirus vaccine. Those who say they would “definitely” get the vaccine is also down half from 42% in May to just 21% in September.
The mystery lies in exactly why American confidence in a vaccine has dropped to such a large degree in just four months.
With several vaccines currently in the trial stage—including one that was briefly put on hold due to a participant’s “severe adverse reaction”—the primary concern among those surveyed seemed to be pharmaceutical companies rushing a vaccination.
More than three-quarters of Americans, 77%, say that a vaccine will be approved before we can fully determine its safety and effectiveness—with 36% believing this to be a likely scenario. Only 22% think that this is “not at all” likely.
Among the concerns of those who say they “definitely or probably would not” get the coronavirus vaccine, 76% cite potential side effects as a major reason, while 72% say they would need to learn more about how the vaccine works. Meanwhile, 31% of respondents simply don’t believe they need a vaccine, and 13% think it would cost too much.
Even in the event that a vaccine can be proven to be definitively safe and effective, people seem to be split as to whether enough Americans will even take it for it to stop the spread of the virus.
Fifty-three percent believe that it is “somewhat or very” likely that enough people will take the vaccine to provide herd immunity while 46% say that this is “not at all” likely. Additionally, only 45% think that everyone who wants a vaccine will have quick and easy access to one.
While it may seem too early to speculate, some people may not have a choice when it comes to getting vaccinated for the coronavirus. Though it’s highly unlikely that the U.S government would legally require vaccinations—regardless of who is in the executive office—employers may be a different story. If nothing else, the findings of the study show that Americans are generally mistrustful of a vaccine, and a well-executed education campaign is going to be the crux of any effective strategy.
Read more on the coronavirus vaccine:
- Johnson & Johnson is getting close to a coronavirus vaccine—and it has advantages over other candidates
- Here’s how a lack of dry ice could stymie coronavirus vaccine distribution
- Could a nasal COVID-19 vaccine actually work?
- Would the U.S. approve a COVID-19 vaccine before we know if it’s safe?
- How the anti-vax movement could ruin the chances for a successful coronavirus vaccine
- Can the government (or your employer) force you to get a coronavirus vaccination?
- Will the coronavirus vaccine be free for Americans?
- The coronavirus vaccine will cost hundreds of millions of dollars to make—here’s why
- Until now, what’s the quickest a vaccine has ever been developed?
- When will a COVID-19 vaccine come out?
Source: Pew Research Center