According to a new Reuters/Ipsos poll, about 25% of Americans have little or no interest in taking a coronavirus vaccine should one become available in the near future. The poll, taken between May 13 and 19, surprised some experts who anticipated higher interest in a vaccine, considering the attention coronavirus has received in recent months.
“It’s a little lower than I thought it would be with all the attention to COVID-19,” said Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease and vaccine expert at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville. “I would have expected somewhere around 75 percent.”
Hesitant interest may have to do with the speed at which vaccine candidates are being developed, which may heighten fears over safety. Typically, testing for safety and success of potential vaccines take up to a decade, but President Trump has expressed hope that a coronavirus vaccine could be available by the end of 2020.
That seemingly rushed approach led more than 40% of respondents to say they believe a vaccine would be riskier to their health than the virus itself. Nearly half of the respondents who said they had little to no interest in the vaccine expressed concern with the speed it is being developed.
Experts have estimated 7 in 10 Americans would need to have vaccinated immunity or have achieved immunity through a previous infection in order to prevent the future spread of the virus.