Over a third of Americans say they won’t take a coronavirus vaccine

Photo by Senior Airman Areca Wilson

35% of Americans say they have no plans to take a COVID-19 vaccine, according to new surveys.

A new Gallup poll polled nearly 8,000 adults in the United States. 65% of Americans said they would appreciate a free and FDA-cleared COVID-19 vaccine. This of course left 35% who said they had no intention of taking a vaccine.

The data also reached the age, race and political affiliation of the participants. 80% of Democrats in the study would get a vaccine, while 59% of independent voters and only 47% of Republicans would.

In terms of age, today 70% of seniors and 76% of adults under 30 years of age would be taking a vaccine. 64% of Americans between 30 and 49 would take a vaccine while only 59% between 50 and 64 would take a vaccine. Broken down by race, 59% of non-white Americans would take the vaccine, compared with 67% of white Americans. Gallup says the survey has a 2% margin of error.

While these numbers will be worrying for many Americans, it is perhaps more worrying that a similar Gallup survey conducted in 1954 asking if participants would take a polio vaccine produced similar results.

The US is the country with the most visible face of the anti-Vaxx movement. President Trump himself has previously expressed doubts as to whether they will work. citing Andrew Wakefield's debunked study of the link between vaccines and autism. However, this is not a unique problem for the US. Several countries lost their measles shedding status in 2018. These included the UK, Albania, the Czech Republic and Greece, while the US reports the highest number of cases in 25 years. This increase is due in large part to the importance of anti-Vaxx misinformation campaigns.

One of the worst recent examples of a measles epidemic is Samoa, where 39 people died in late 2019. The World Health Organization has blamed an anti-vaccination campaign for most of the victims. In 2015 the vaccination rate was 84%, but in 2018 it had dropped dramatically to 31%.

Conor Kavanagh

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