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New poll indicates most Americans will not get a COVID-19 vaccine when it’s first available

Published on 07/09/20 at 12:01pm

Two-thirds of Americans say they will not get vaccinated against COVID-19 when a treatment first becomes available, according to a USA Today and Suffolk poll. 

This research contained 1,000 US voters and was conducted between 28-31 August through cell phone and landline. It found that 67% of responders would not take the vaccine, with 44% saying that they would wait until others had first been treated and 23% saying they would not get inoculated at all. 

27% said they would take a vaccine as soon as possible, while 4% were undecided. The group that were most likely to take the vaccine were over 75s and under 24s. Men and women were evenly split.

In terms of political affiliations, 86% of Democrats and 61% of Republicans said they would get the vaccine at some point. In terms of racial and ethnic breakdown, the poll found that Hispanics and Black voters were less likely to take the vaccine compared to White Americans. 

Finally, 41% of those in the study said they would not get the vaccine if it was federally mandated, while 50% said they would. 

This poll and many others, point to the US having a particularly strong undercurrent of the population who are either sceptical of vaccines altogether or are hesitant to be among the first to get one designed for COVID-19. Dr David Salmon, a professor at the Bloomberg School of Public Health at John Hopkins University and an expert in global disease epidemiology and control, told USA Today: “If you have 330 million doses of vaccine and nobody wants it, it accomplishes nothing. You've got to use the vaccine. It’s just as important as how effective the vaccine is.

“You probably need between 70% and 80% of the population to get immune in order to really control COVID. And when I say immune, I mean both get the vaccine and the vaccine worked for them."

Currently, the US expects its Operation Warp Speed initiative to produce an effective vaccine in January. Three vaccine candidates are currently undergoing Phase 3 studies, with more to enter this phase of research by the end of the month. 

Conor Kavanagh

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