Only 42 percent of Americans now plan on getting a coronavirus vaccine if and when one is available, nearly a quarter fewer than said they’d get the shot in May.
A number of companies making potential coronavirus vaccines have reported promising results from their tests and several are now in the final stages of trials before (if all goes well) their shots can be brought to market.
Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar said Wednesday that the last two week have been brought the ‘most historic advances’ in the history of vaccine development.
But that progress is of little value if Americans don’t trust the shots that come out of it – and the trends documented by the newest iteration of YouGov/Yahoo! News surveys are not nearly as promising as the vaccine safety data.
The number of Americans who plan to get a coronavirus vaccine has steadily declined to just 42% as of July 30 (white), with more Democrats (blue) saying they will get vaccinated than either Republicans (red) or Independents (green), a YouGov/Yahoo! News survey found
In order to provide worthwhile protection, a coronavirus vaccine will need to be at least 50 percent effective, experts have said.
With any vaccine, there are small pockets of the population for whom the shot will not be safe – namely, very young children, people with some immune diseases and potentially the elderly, who are also most vulnerable to coronavirus.
Depending on the disease a vaccine is designed to protect against, a certain percentage of the population needs to be innoculated to shield those who can’t get get the shot, a principle known as herd immunity.
Establishing herd immunity against coronavirus will require a minimum of 60 percent of the US population to get a shot, when one is available, scientists estimate.
And if only the 42 percent of Americans who currently say they plan on getting the shot do so, the US won’t be anywhere near herd immunity.
Over the past four months, YouGov and Yahoo! have been surveying about 1,500 US adults on a regular basis about their perspectives on the coronavirus pandemic, including how they see progress toward a vaccine.
People surveyed in early May were much more optimistic about the coronavirus vaccine.
Nearly enough to hit herd immunity – 55 percent – said ‘yes’ when asked if they would get vaccinated against coronavirus if a shot was available.
Much less was known about the vaccines in development in May, yet confidence in them was higher.
The proportion of Americans who are sure that they’ll get the shot when it’s available has steadily fallen since.
In the survey published just two weeks later, the ‘yes’s’ had fallen to a flat 50 percent.
Novavax’s shot (pictured) showed promising data on Wednesday, but it won’t matter how good a shot is if enough Americans don’t get vaccinated (file)
By July 14, less than half – 46 percent – of the surveyed adults said they would definitely get a shot.
And as of July 30, 23 percent fewer Americans (42 percent) plan to get vaccinated than did just two months prior.
Despite President Trump’s launch and continued support of Operation Warp Speed – a program aimed at speeding the development timeline of a potential vaccine – Republicans have consistently been more skeptical of COVID-19 shot than their liberal counterparts.
As of May 6, Republicans and Independents were equally likely to get a coronavirus shot, with 47 percent of each group saying the planned to get vaccinated.
The majority of Democrats – 70 percent – said, ‘yes,’ they would get a COVID-19 shot.
But numbers plummeted for all three groups by the end of July, Just 37 percent of Republicans, 34 percent of Independents and 55 percent of Democrats said they planned to receive a coronavirus vaccine.
About one third of survey respondents said that they are ‘very concerned’ that a coronavirus made on the accelerated timeline of Operation Warp Speed won’t be safe.
Source: Daily Mail