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Percent of Americans Willing to Get COVID-19 Vaccine Drops Below Half

If pharmacists become frontline vaccinators in the war against COVID-19, it might not be that easy of a sale. A new survey says the percentage of Americans comfortable with receiving a vaccine when one becomes available is actually dropping. Find out why that might be the case and what makes people especially concerned about this specific vaccine.

NEW YORK – The challenge isn’t just to produce a safe and effective vaccine against COVID-19 but also to convince people in the United States to be immunized with it.

That is according to recent data from the Yahoo News/YouGov Poll which reveals that only 42% of U.S. respondents say they plan to be vaccinated if and when a product becomes available. That is down seven points from 55% on May 6. 

The poll reports that while 27% of Americans say they won’t get vaccinated, up eight points from May, about a third (32%) say they aren’t sure if they’ll get vaccinated, up six points. 

The survey shows that Democrats (55%) remain more likely than Republicans (37%) or Independents (34%) to say they will get vaccinated but also demonstrated a decline in all groups, despite political preferences, since the last poll in May.

Analysis suggests a key issue is the safety of fast-tracked vaccines, which are going through regulatory processes more rapidly than normal. Another issue is growing distrust of health authorities.

For example, 80% of respondents to the YahooNews/YouGov Poll rated good or excellent the performance of Anthony Fauci, MD, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases since 1984, during the novel coronavirus crisis.  By August, that had dropped to 69%. The data also indicates that Republicans (65%) are much less likely than Democrats (85%) to say his performance is good or excellent. 

Would you take a vaccine under the following conditions? Yes No Not sure The vaccine causes side effects such as fever and headaches in one-third of recipients 35% 40% 25% The vaccine is only 60 percent effective at preventing COVID-19 infection 34% 43% 23% Vaccination requires multiple doses of the vaccine over a couple of weeks 39% 38% 23% Vaccination requires waiting in line for hours at a time or scheduling an appointment weeks in advance 39% 42% 19%

The survey also provides information on answers to whether respondents would be willing to take a vaccine under the following conditions:

  • The vaccine causes side effects such as fever and headaches in one-third of recipients. 35% said they would, 40% said they would not and 25% said they were unsure.
  • The vaccine is only 60% effective at preventing COVID-19 infection. 34% said they would, 43%  said they would not and 23% said they were unsure.
  • Vaccination requires multiple doses of the vaccine over a couple of weeks. 39% said they would,  38% said they would not and 23% said they weren’t sure.
  • Vaccination requires waiting in line for hours at a time or scheduling an appointment weeks in advance 39% said they would, 42% said they would not and 19% said they were unsure.

The Yahoo! News survey was conducted by YouGov using a nationally representative sample of 1,506 U.S. adult residents interviewed online between July 28-30, 2020. The company said it weighted the sample according to gender, age, race, and education based on the American Community Survey, conducted by the U.S. Bureau of the Census, as well as 2016 Presidential vote, registration status, geographic region, and news interest. The margin of error for the entire sample is calculated at ±3.3%.

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