A new poll found that if and when a vaccine against COVID-19 becomes available only about half of the people surveyed said they would get vaccinated.
Those numbers may be surprising to some, as a vaccine has been hailed as the best way out of the coronavirus pandemic that has killed nearly 100,000 Americans so far, sickened many more, and sent the economy into a tailspin. But according to a survey of 1,056 adults by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, only 49% of people said they will definitely get a coronavirus vaccine once it’s available.
The biggest reasons people said they would not get the vaccine — or weren’t sure if they would — was concern about possible side effects. The number one reason people said they would get the vaccine is to protect themselves from the virus.
The pandemic is increasingly becoming a divisive subject among some Americans who have differing opinions on what best practices are regarding re-opening during a public health crisis. From the results of the new poll, which was conducted from May 14-18, even whether or not to get vaccinated garnered varied opinions.
Sixty-two percent of Democrats said they would get the vaccine, while only 43% of Republicans said they would. Only 31% of Independents said they would get vaccinated, but the bigger majority of that group, 46% were unsure.
Some People Are Not Worried About Getting the Virus & Don’t Think It’s as Bad as People Say It Is
Researchers asked people their reasons why they would or would not get the vaccine, including finding out about their ethnicities, ages, and political leanings. The results reflect the varied way people seem to view the coronavirus, which has been evident in media scrutiny when large crowds gather, at protests where people demand the re-opening of shuttered businesses, and on social media where people freely share their views and judgments on the ways some are behaving during the pandemic.
The opposing views trickle all the way down to whether or not to wear a mask in public, something health officials say is important but has become somewhat symbolic to many in regards to political affiliations as President Trump is rarely seen wearing a mask.
People were allowed to choose all answers that applied in the poll. Of those who said they would not get vaccinated, 31% said they were not worried about getting seriously ill, while another 24% said they don’t’ think the virus is as bad as people say.
In the group that said they will get vaccinated, 82% said part of the reason is that they think it’s the best way not to get seriously ill. Seventy-two percent of people said vaccination is the best way to get life to go back to normal.
About as Many People Said They Would Get A COVID-19 Vaccination as Usually Get the Flu Shot
Coronavirus has been compared to the flu, especially early on, but it is not a form of influenza — it is not the same thing. However, looking at the new poll comparatively to the latest estimates by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, roughly the same amount of people say they would get vaccinated for coronavirus as they have historically done for the flu.
In the 2018-2019 flu season, the CDC reported that an average of 45.3% of people got flu shots in the U.S. That varied by state though, with the low end where the least amount of people got vaccinated for influenza at 33.9% and in the states where people got the most flu shots it was up to 56.3%.
Looking at those numbers, maybe these new poll findings are not too surprising. While a coronavirus vaccine would potentially work to prevent the spread of a virus that can kill or cause long-term illness, or alternately can show no symptoms at all in others, there are still many people who are mistrustful of vaccines.
In an article called, “How the Anti-Vaccine Community Is Responding to Covid-19,” published on Undark, they discuss the beliefs of some that in some cases there are conspiracy theories at work behind the virus and vaccines. Others feel that natural immunity is better than a vaccine and it’s best to let the virus run its course, and again there are those that subscribe to the idea that the virus is not as bad as the public is being led to believe.
Still, that may depend on where you’re sitting. People in high-risk groups or who live with others who are high risk to get severely ill or die from COVID-19, such as older populations, were the biggest group of people who said they’d get the vaccination.
Sixty-seven percent of people 60 and over said they would get vaccinated, and 55% of people who said they want to get the vaccination reported that it’s in part because they don’t want to get family members sick. Only 12% of people over 60 said they would not get vaccinated.