UPDATED 11:22 AM PT — Wednesday, May 27, 2020
A number of coronavirus vaccines are currently in the works, but only half of Americans are planning to get it once it becomes available.
A poll was released Tuesday by the Associated Press and the National Opinion Research Center (NORC) at the University of Chicago, which found 49 percent of people plan to get vaccinated. The response marked a significant drop since earlier in May when 74 percent of respondents said they would likely get vaccinated.
“It means that there’s still uncertainty around the side effects of a potential vaccine,” said Caitlin Oppenheimer, Senior Vice President of Public Health for NORC University of Chicago “There’s a lot of myth about the vaccines and whether or not they might get coronavirus from taking the vaccine.”
In fact, the poll found that fears of side effects and potential contraction of the virus from the vaccine itself were the two most commonly cited reasons why people did not want the vaccine.
“To get a COVID-19 vaccine within a year or two causes me to fear that it won’t be widely tested as to side effects,” said Melanie Dries, a poll respondent
Since the start of the pandemic, 125 different vaccines have begun preclinical evaluations with 10 currently approved to begin human trials.
Private firms, research hospitals and governments are hoping to see positive results in the next 18 months, dramatically shortening a process that the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations reports takes 10 to 15 years.
However, health officials around the globe are adamant the vaccine development process, while much faster under the circumstances, is still being heavily scrutinized for accuracy.
“I think there’s an opportunity for policymakers and health communicators to convey what’s going into building this vaccine,” Oppenheimer continued. “How solid are the data to make sure that it’s safe, so that when it’s available we have per-addressed some of those concerns?”
Despite some people’s hesitancy in personally getting vaccinated, 79 percent of respondents said a working vaccine is an important step in allowing areas to reopen.