Story at a glance
- Researchers have been racing to produce a vaccine to protect against COVID-19.
- A new poll shows that some Americans are hesitant to get vaccinated when one becomes available.
- Almost half of black Americans surveyed expressed concern about the health effects of a vaccine.
As the United States reopens despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, many Americans are watching the global race to develop a vaccine to protect against COVID-19. .
More than 125 vaccines are currently being developed around the world, according to The New York Times’ coronavirus vaccine tracker, but only one has reached phase three. If the vaccine passes the large-scale efficacy test, it could be approved for use — although there is no guarantee.
But once they’re available, will you get one?
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Only 29 percent of Americans say they definitely will get the vaccine, while 36 percent say they probably will in a poll conducted by Fairleigh Dickinson University. That leaves about a third of Americans who likely won’t get vaccinated, with 18 percent saying they probably will not and 17 percent saying they definitely will not.
“The hesitation that Americans have, and their distrustful view of vaccine development may serve as an obstacle to vaccine acceptance in the future. A significant amount of education on the benefits and risks of the vaccine will need to be provided to the public,” Julie Kalabalik-Hoganson, chair and associate professor of pharmacy practice at the university said in a release.
That percentage increases when looking only at black Americans, 43 percent of whom said they probably or definitely wouldn’t get the vaccine, compared to 25 percent of white Americans and 35 percent of Hispanic Americans.
“The gap that separates blacks from whites also extends to their concerns about their overall health. It’s important to note that black respondents are significantly more concerned than whites about their own or a loved one’s health due to disruptions in medical care,” Krista Jenkins, professor of politics and government and director of the poll, said in a release.
The results are especially important as many states lift stay-at-home orders meant to slow the transmission of the virus. Public health experts say that vaccination is the most effective way of protecting against the coronavirus, especially in the absence of social distancing measures, and herd immunity can only be achieved if a majority of Americans are vaccinated.
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