The Slatest

One-in-Three Americans Would Decline a Free COVID-19 Vaccine

Lisa Taylor receives a COVID-19 vaccination from RN Jose Muniz as she takes part in a vaccine study at Research Centers of America on August 7, 2020 in Hollywood, Florida.
Lisa Taylor receives a COVID-19 vaccination from RN Jose Muniz as she takes part in a vaccine study at Research Centers of America on August 7, 2020 in Hollywood, Florida. Joe Raedle/Getty Images

As the death toll from the coronavirus in the United States passes the 160,000-mark, a new poll makes it clear that even if there were a safe and effective vaccine many Americans would refuse to get it. If a vaccine approved by the Food and Drug Administration were offered for free, 35 percent of Americans say they would not get vaccinated, according to a Gallup poll. And those who would refuse the vaccine are more likely to be Republican. While 81 percent of Democrats said they’d get vaccinated if a free, FDA-approved vaccine were available, only 47 percent of Republicans said the same. Independents are in the middle of the two, with 59 percent saying they would accept the vaccine.

Acceptance of a possible vaccine is higher than average among the young and old, with 76 percent of those aged 18-29 and 70 percent of senior citizens saying they would get a vaccine. Those in the middle appear to be the most reluctant with 59 percent of those between the ages of 50 and 64 saying they would accept a vaccine.

Even though the number could be surprising considering just how much COVID-19 has affected daily life around the world, it still appears to be an increase from a few months ago. In late May, a different poll found that only around half of Americans would definitely get vaccinated. The poll from the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found that while 49 percent of Americans said they would get vaccinated, 20 percent said they wouldn’t and 31 percent said they weren’t sure.

Amid the global race for the vaccine, experts have been careful to note that even if there is a vaccine, it likely wouldn’t be a silver bullet against the coronavirus. Anthony Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said the chances of a coronavirus vaccine “being 98 percent effective is not great.” During a Q&A with the Brown University School of Public Health, Fauci said that the vaccine shouldn’t be seen as a perfect solution but rather “as a tool to be able to get the pandemic to no longer be a pandemic, but to be something that’s well controlled.” The FDA has said it could approve a vaccine as long as it is at least 50 percent effective.