Story at a glance

  • A new poll on unvaccinated Americans was conducted by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.
  • National Institutes of Health immunologist Kizzmekia Corbett is answering questions Americans have about the vaccine in an attempt to combat hesitancy and misinformation.
  • More than 150 million people have gotten at least their first dose of the coronavirus vaccine.

A new poll conducted by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found a majority of unvaccinated Americans are reluctant to receive the vaccine.

According to the poll, 11 percent of unvaccinated Americans said they definitely will get the shot, but 34 percent said they definitely won't get it. 

However, caught in the middle are 27 percent of Americans who said they probably will receive the vaccine and 27 percent who said they most likely won't.


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A large portion of those who are hesitant are reportedly fueled by a mix of unanswered questions and misinformation. Out to offer clarity and transparency is National Institutes of Health immunologist Kizzmekia Corbett.

Corbett, who aided in leading the development of the Moderna vaccine, uses her spare time to answer questions Americans have in relation to the vaccine, its side effects, its development, and countering any misinformation.

She explains that the quick development of the vaccine wasn’t reached by flouting safety or testing, but rather that “we worked our butts off for the last six years” researching and working on developing vaccines for previous, similar viruses to COVID-19, which ultimately offered scientists a leg-up in development.  

Among side effect myths Corbett works to debunk is the claim the vaccines will cause infertility, which Corbett said is “completely absurd” as vaccines can’t alter a person’s DNA. “Whoever started that rumor,” she said, “shame on you.”

At this point more than 150 million people, or approximately 58 percent of adults, have gotten at least their first dose of the coronavirus vaccine, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

While the study did find that a majority of the unvaccinated are still hesitant, it also noted forward movement amid the hesitancy. About 1 in 5 Americans said they probably or definitely won’t get vaccinated, which is down from one-third in January.

Twenty-six percent of Black Americans said they definitely or probably won’t receive the vaccine, down from 41 percent in January. And 32 percent of Republicans said they probably or definitely won’t get vaccinated, compared to 44 percent in January.

As the hesitancy slowly trends downward, Corbett hopes continued discussion and vaccine information will reach holdouts. “People need to hear things multiple times,” she said.

“What I can say,” Corbett added, “is that we’re doing everything we can to make sure we can answer it as soon as possible.”


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Published on May 11, 2021