A new Gallup poll showed that only 65%, or about two-thirds of Americans, say they are willing to get a free, FDA-approved coronavirus vaccine when it becomes available to them.
Previous informal surveys showed that around 50% of Americans were willing to get the vaccine in June. Some who don’t feel comfortable getting the vaccine have listened to anti-vaccine activists who warn that it could be dangerous, while others just worry that the government is rushing through clinical trials in order to give people a sense of protection.
A popular YouTube video called “Plandemic” got around seven million views before it was banned–it said that coronavirus deaths are being exaggerated and that a vaccine could kill more people than the virus itself.
Vaccination rates in the U.S. were already falling before the virus, and people’s reluctance to take children to the doctor because of virus risk has led to rates falling even more.
Does everyone need to get vaccinated?
If significant numbers of people do not get vaccinated for the coronavirus, it will not become rare enough to die out completely, but it will still protect the people who do get the vaccine, if it is effective.
Gallup pointed out that in 1954 when the new polio vaccine was introduced, the number of people who weren’t sure about vaccinating their kids was about the same as the number willing to get a coronavirus vaccine now.
Still, one of the goals of vaccination is to reach herd immunity so the virus has no choice but to die out from lack of available hosts for new infections. That typically doesn’t happen until about 70 to 80% of the population is either infected or vaccinated.
Breakdown of poll by party
Not surprisingly, more Democrats wanted to get the vaccine than Republicans, 81% to 47%. Younger and older Americans were most likely to say they would get the vaccine, with 76% and 70% respectively saying they would get vaccinated.
64% of those who live in cities said they would get the vaccine, while closer to 70% of those in a suburb or a small town agreed. Among those in rural areas, where cases and deaths have typically been lower, only 56% said they would get a vaccine.
Three doctors wrote in a USA Today op-ed on Thursday that they think the U.S. should make the vaccine mandatory unless there are medical reasons not to do so, but it’s probably unlikely that will happen if President Donald Trump is re-elected.
Since the vaccine will be so new when it is first unveiled to the public, there are bound to be many who would resist being made to get it before they know what kind of side effects crop up when millions begin to get it.
While the vaccine could, if effective, protect many older and at-risk people who would be more susceptible to complications or death if they did get the virus, I’m not sure why anyone under 25 should get it when their chances of dying are a fraction of a percent, based on CDC numbers so far.