Fewer than half of Americans plan to get a vaccine to potentially protect them against the novel coronavirus if and when one becomes available, an AP poll showed Thursday.
Forty-nine percent of 1,056 surveyed between May 14-18 said they intend to get the inoculation, 20% will not and another 31% are unsure.
One researcher working on testing a potential vaccine for the flu-like COVID-19 has said it is possible to have it by December, which would be unprecedented considering it typically takes 10-15 years to develop one and bring it to market.
The same poll, conducted by the National Opinion Research Center (NORC) at the University of Chicago, said 20% believe a vaccine for the disease that first appeared last fall in China will be ready by the end of the year, 61% expect it in 2021 and 17% think it will take longer than that.
The number of people who plan on getting the vaccine is about the same (52%) as those who said last year they were planning to get a seasonal flu shot, according to a 2019 poll conducted for the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases.
“The unexpected looms large and that’s why I think for any of these vaccines, we’re going to need a large safety database to provide the reassurance,” the AP quoted Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease specialist at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
The poll showed a significant difference among age, race and political demographic groups of who would get the vaccine.
Sixty-seven percent of those over 60 would get the vaccine, while only 40% of those under 60 would. Similarly, 56% of whites say they’ll get the vaccine, but only 25% of blacks and 37% of Hispanics. Additionally, 62% of Democrats say they plan to get the inoculation, but only 43% of Republicans.
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