If the unprecedented global race for the first effective human coronavirus vaccine is successful, only 49 percent of Americans say they would get the vaccine, according to an Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll released Wednesday morning. Another 31 percent said they were not sure while 20 percent said they would not get the vaccine. About 70 percent of those currently refusing the future vaccine cited safety concerns, while an equal share of those who would get a vaccine said it's the only way to get life back to normal. The top reason among people who said yes was to protect their family and community.
"There's still a large amount of uncertainty around taking the vaccine," NORC's Caitlin Oppenheimer told AP. "There is a lot of opportunity to communicate with Americans about the value and the safety of a vaccine." Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, gave it a shot. "I would not want people to think that we're cutting corners because that would be a big mistake," he told the AP earlier this month. "Definitely the worst thing that could happen is if we rush through a vaccine that turns out to have significant side effects." The NIH is drawing up plans to test successful COVID-19 vaccine candidates in tens of thousands of people to make sure they are effective and safe.
Older Americans, whites, and Democrats were more likely to say yes to the vaccine, while respondents under 60, Republicans, and black and Hispanic Americans were more likely to pass. The AP-NORC poll was conducted May 14-18 among 1,056 adults. It has a margin of sampling error of ±4.2 percentage points.