Most respondents to a recent survey said they would be willing to get a COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available.

Noting that coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) was declared a pandemic back in March 2020, an article in the journal Vaccine points out that numerous prophylactic vaccines against COVID-19 are currently in development. Yet, The University of Ohio–led researchers add that not much is known about American’s willingness to actually get a COVID-19 vaccine.

To help answer that question, researchers conducted an online survey of 2,006 adults aged 18 years and older in the United States in May 2020. They used multivariable relative risk regression to identify correlates of participants’ willingness to get a COVID-19 vaccine (i.e., vaccine acceptability). Results indicate that, overall, 69% of participants said they were willing to get a COVID-19 vaccine. 

Several factors made participants likely to get vaccinated, however. Those include:

• If they thought their healthcare provider would recommend vaccination (RR = 1.73, 95% CI: 1.49-2.02);
• If they were moderate (RR = 1.09, 95% CI: 1.02-1.16) or liberal (RR = 1.14, 95% CI: 1.07-1.22) in their political leaning;
• If they reported higher levels of perceived likelihood of getting a COVID-19 infection in the future (RR = 1.05, 95% CI: 1.01-1.09);
• If they perceived severity of COVID-19 infection (RR = 1.08, 95% CI: 1.04-1.11); 
• If they perceived effectiveness of a COVID-19 vaccine (RR = 1.46, 95% CI: 1.40-1.52). 

Conversely, participants were less likely to be willing to get vaccinated if they were non-Latin black (RR = 0.81, 95% CI: 0.74-0.90) or reported a higher level of perceived potential vaccine harms (RR = 0.95, 95% CI: 0.92-0.98).

“Many adults are willing to get a COVID-19 vaccine, though acceptability should be monitored as vaccine development continues,” the authors write. “Our findings can help guide future efforts to increase COVID-19 vaccine acceptability (and uptake if a vaccine becomes available).”

Despite concerns about vaccine hesitance, development of possible COVID-19 vaccines is moving forward, and the National Institutes of Health recently set up a website to handle registration for four large vaccine studies ongoing this summer and fall, as well as others that follow.
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