Even when a vaccine for COVID-19 is deemed safe and effective to use, nearly one-quarter of U.S. adults said that they would refuse to get it, according to a new survey. A Reuters/Ipsos poll that sought to determine American perceptions regarding a coronavirus vaccine found that a majority of Americans would be interested in being vaccinated if they could. The survey also indicates that most in the U.S. believe that vaccines are generally safe for adults and children, although they would be more interested in receiving the vaccine if a large-scale scientific study proved the vaccine’s safety.
Two-thirds of Americans said that they are interested in getting the coronavirus vaccine (65%), and one-quarter of Americans are not interested (24%). The most common reason for not wanting the vaccine is nervousness about a vaccine that has been approved so quickly (48%). In fact, 42% say that the risk of taking a new vaccine outweighs any potential benefits.
However, a strong majority of Americans say that they believe vaccines, like those for measles, mumps, and rubella, are generally safe for adults (84%) and for children (84%). That perception is widely held, with nine in 10 Democrats and Republicans reporting that they believe vaccines to be safe for adults (89% and 85%, respectively) and children (88% and 85%, respectively).
Factors that would make respondents more interested in getting a novel coronavirus vaccine include:
• If large-scale scientific studies show that people who have taken the vaccine do not suffer any negative side effects (62%)
• If the vaccine gets FDA approval (58%)
• if U.S. health authorities report that it could prevent a repeat of the pandemic (57%) and
• If their life could return to normal, like it was before the pandemic (57%).
The survey points out that while adults of both political parties generally agree that vaccines are safe (see above), Republicans are significantly more likely to say that they are not interested in receiving the coronavirus vaccine (31%), compared with Democrats (16%). Independents also express trepidation—31% say that they are not interested.
The Ipsos poll was conducted between May 13 and May 19 on behalf of Thomson Reuters and included a sample of 4,428 U.S. adults who were interviewed online. The poll has a credibility interval ± 2.5 percentage points for Democrats, ± 2.8 percentage points for Republicans, and ± 5.2 percentage points for independents.
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