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Protection or Danger: How Americans View COVID-19 Vaccination

Efforts to develop a coronavirus vaccine are causing controversy over timing and release, with the number of Americans advocating vaccines against the disease plummeting since the beginning of this year. Pew Research.

Photo: Shutterstock

Recently, the head of the US Centers for Control and Prevention, Robert Redfield, said that the COVID-19 vaccine will be widely available by April 2021, notes SF Gate.

A new national Pew Research Center poll, conducted September 8-13 of 10 US adults, shows that intentions to receive the vaccine have declined across all major political and demographic groups.

About half of the US adult population (51%) says they would most likely or probably would get vaccinated to prevent COVID-19 if the vaccine was available today; almost the same number (49%) said they would definitely or probably not get vaccinated today. The intention to receive the COVID-19 vaccine fell from 72% in May, that is, by 21 percentage points.

The proportion of those who would definitely be vaccinated today is only 21% - half of what was announced 4 months ago.

Many people are concerned about how the vaccine is being developed. Nine pharmaceutical companies have promised that it will meet stringent standards. A Pew poll shows that three quarters of Americans (77%) believe that the COVID-19 vaccine will be approved in the United States with a high or some degree of probability before its safety and effectiveness is fully studied. 78% worry that the vaccine approval process will go too quickly, without full evidence of safety and efficacy. 20% were more worried that approval would be too slow.

On the subject: Within a day and for free: how the United States will distribute the vaccine against COVID-19 and who will receive it

About seven in ten Republicans (69%) are more worried about too fast approval processes, and even the vast majority of Democrats (86%) share this view.

Democrats and Democratic supporters are 14 percentage points more likely than Republicans and their supporters to say they are likely or sure to get the vaccine (58% versus 44%). Black adults are far less likely to say they will get the vaccine than other Americans: 32% compared to 52% of white adults, 56% of Hispanics, and 72% of Asian Americans.

Several vaccines are currently being tested. One was temporarily put on hold earlier this month due to side effects in a trial participant, but has since resumed.

The vast majority (72%) of those who would not get the COVID-19 vaccine also say that the desire to learn more about the effectiveness of the vaccine is the main reason for the reluctance to receive it now. Fewer adults say they do not consider the vaccine necessary or the cost is inappropriate.

57% of those planning to get vaccinated say they would be slightly (36%) or much (21%) less likely to do so if they had to pay out of pocket for the vaccine. 42% say spending money will not affect their likelihood of getting the vaccine.

In 57% of cases, the decision would be influenced by the minor side effects experienced by the vaccinated, and for 55% it would be doubts about the effectiveness of the vaccine. The possible need for vaccinations each year is not seen as a major deterrent: 70% of supporters believe it will not affect them.

Researchers are still not sure how effective the COVID-19 vaccine will ultimately be. The FDA has said it will allow the vaccine if it is safe and at least 50% effective in preventing disease or reducing its severity. Anthony Fauci, the chief infectious disease specialist in the United States, says scientists are hoping for 75% effectiveness or more.

On the subject: How the top US infectious disease specialist strengthens immunity and protects against coronavirus

About three-quarters of Americans (77%) believe the COVID-19 vaccine will be approved and used in the United States before it is fully known whether it is safe and effective, including 36% who believe it is the most likely to be used. Only 22% are sure that this is unlikely.

Public assessments are more controversial about whether enough people will be vaccinated to contain the spread of the disease: 53% believe that this is at least partially likely, and 46% that it is unlikely.

Americans are also ambivalent about access to vaccines. About half of the US adult population (48%) believe that those who wish to get vaccinated will have easy and quick access to vaccinations, and 51% are convinced that this is unlikely or not at all likely.

Those planning to vaccinate against COVID-19 express much more confidence in the vaccine development process than those not planning to vaccinate.

Overall, 19% of the population is very confident that a safe and effective vaccine for COVID-19 will be created through research and development in the United States, and another 45% say they have sufficient confidence in this. About a third (35%) do not trust this process too much or do not trust it at all.

Among those who say they are required or likely to get vaccinated, more than eight out of ten express either high (30%) or significant (54%) confidence in the research and development process. In contrast, 55% of those who are not planning a coronavirus vaccine say they are not too or at all unsure about the process.

Miscellaneous In the U.S. vaccination coronavirus Special Projects COVID-19

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UN: COVID-19 pandemic will lead to higher infant mortality from other diseases

US COVID-19 vaccine causes 'unexplained illness' in test subject

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