Roughly half of the Americans surveyed in a poll released Wednesday said they would get a vaccine to prevent COVID-19.
The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll found that 49 percent of respondents said they would get a vaccine for the disease, which is caused by the novel coronavirus. Twenty percent of respondents said they would not, and 31 percent said they weren’t sure yet.
The results show the vaccine would not be more popular than the yearly one for the flu, suggesting that people are leery to take the vaccine, which health experts around the world are working to develop.
About 70 percent of those in the new poll who said they wouldn’t take the vaccine noted concerns about safety.
Among those who would not take the vaccine, about 40 percent said they were worried about getting COVID-19 from it, although the AP noted that most of the leading vaccine candidates do not contain the virus. About 30 percent of those who won’t take the vaccine said they aren’t concerned about falling seriously ill because of the virus.
Among those who said they would get a vaccine, about 70 percent said life won’t return to normal without a vaccine.
About two-thirds of respondents aged 60 and older, who are more likely to suffer serious consequences from the virus, said they would take the vaccine, compared to 40 percent of those younger than 60.
Although COVID-19 has disproportionately affected minority communities, only 25 percent of African Americans and 37 percent of Hispanics said they would get the vaccine, compared to 56 percent of white respondents.
Willingness to take the vaccine also presented a political divide, as 62 percent of Democrats said they would get it, while 43 percent of Republicans agreed. More than half of the Democrats said a vaccine was necessary to reopen the economy, compared to about a third of Republicans.
About a dozen vaccines are in the early stages or set to begin testing. But Francis Collins, who directs the National Institutes of Health, told the AP that safety is being prioritized, and he doesn't want “people to think we’re cutting corners.”
The new poll surveyed 1,056 U.S. adults between May 14 and 18. The margin of error amounted to 4.2 percentage points.