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Over a third of Americans say they won’t take a coronavirus vaccine

Published on 10/08/20 at 11:52am
Photo by Senior Airman Areca Wilson

35% of Americans say they have no plans to take a COVID-19 vaccine, according to new polling.

A new Gallup poll surveyed nearly 8,000 adults across the US. 65% of Americans said that they would be happy to get a COVID-19 vaccine that was both free and FDA approved. This of course left 35% who said they had no intention of taking a vaccine.

The data also attained the age, race and political affiliation of the participants. 80% of Democrats in the study would get a vaccine, while 59% of independent voters and only 47% of Republicans would.

In terms of age, 70% of senior citizens and 76% of adults under thirty would take a vaccine today. 64% of Americans between 30 and 49 would take a vaccine while just 59% between 50 and 64 would. When broken down by race, 59% of non-white Americans would take the vaccine compared with 67% of white Americans. Gallup says the poll contains a 2% margin of error.

While these numbers will be worrying for many Americans, what may be more concerning is that a similar Gallup poll carried out in 1954, asking if participants would take a polio vaccine, yielded similar results.

The US is the country with the most visible face of the anti-vaxx movement. President Trump himself has previously cast doubt on if they work; citing Andrew Wakefield’s debunked study on the link between vaccines and autism. However, this is not a unique problem to the US. Several countries lost their measles elimination status in 2018. This included the UK, Albania, the Czech Republic and Greece, while the US has been reporting its highest number of cases for 25 years. This rise is in large part due to the prominence of anti-vaxx misinformation campaigns.

One of the worst recent examples of a measles epidemic is Samoa, where 39 people have died in late 2019. The World Health Organisation has blamed an anti-vaccine campaign for most of the casualties. In 2015, immunisation rates were measured at 84% but in 2018 it had fallen dramatically to 31%.

Conor Kavanagh

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