According to a new poll from Reuters/Ipsos, 36% of Americans surveyed said that their “interest in taking a coronavirus/COVID-19 vaccine” would be diminished if “President Trump says the vaccine is safe.”
The survey, which was conducted on 4,428 adults between May 13-19, asked a variety of questions pertaining to a COVID-19 vaccine.
The survey first asked about the regular flu vaccine, which is offered annually. Only 44% of respondents said that they would “definitely get the flu vaccine” this year. 15% said they “plan” to get it, 11% said they “probably won’t” get it, and 16% said they are certain that they “won’t get the flu vaccine.”
The survey then asked about a potential COVID-19 vaccine: “How interested would you be in getting a coronavirus/COVID-19 vaccine, if at all?”
38% of respondents said they are “very interested,” and 27% said they are “somewhat interested,” for a combined 65% who are overall “interested” to some degree.
10% said they are “not very interested,” and 14% said they are “not at all interested” in a COVID-19 vaccine, for a combined 24% who are overall uninterested to some degree.
11% were “not sure.”
The survey asked further questions of those who indicated that they were not interested in getting a COVID-19 vaccine, telling them to “select all that apply” to a series of statements.
42% of respondents said they would not be interested in a vaccine because “the risks of taking a new vaccine outweigh any benefits.”
15% said they would not be interested because they are “not at risk of getting coronavirus/COVID-19.”
27% said they would not be interested because they “do not think the vaccination will work to protect [them] from infection.”
35% said they would not be interested because they “do not trust the people who are creating/developing vaccines.”
16% said they “don’t like to get shots.”
48% said they are “nervous about a new vaccine that has been approved so quickly.”
The survey also asked: “How would the following developments impact your interest in taking a coronavirus/COVID- 19 vaccine, if at all?”
Approval by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) would make 57% “more interested,” and 7% “less interested.”
“Large scientific studies” showing a lack of negative side effects has 62% “more interested.”
Perhaps the most interesting feedback came when respondents were asked how “President Trump say[ing] the vaccine is safe” would “impact your interest in” a vaccine.
While 14% said they would be “more interested,” a rather large 36% said they would be “less interested.” 37% said they would be “no more or no less interested.”
Broken down into political ideologies, 55% of Democrats and 36% of independents said they would be “less interested” in a vaccine if the president said it was safe versus 13% of Republicans who said the same.
Further, trust in American and European-made vaccines was higher among respondents, 46% of whom said that if the “vaccine is developed in China,” they would be “less interested.” This is compared to 14% who would be “less interested” by a European-developed vaccine, and 5% who would be “less interested” by an American-developed vaccine.
This poll aligns with a previous Morning Consult survey in which 64% of respondents said they would get a vaccine for COVID-19, while 14% said they would not. 22% didn’t know.
Approval of President Trump has bounced up and down during the coronavirus.
From the beginning of March through May 22, some polls have put the president’s job approval in the upper 40s, even hitting 50% in two Hill-HarrisX surveys, one in late-March and the other in mid-April, and 51% in another Hill-HarrisX survey from early-May.
Several surveys have also shown his approval to be as low as 41% throughout the last two and a half months – a Politico/Morning Consult survey being the most recent in mid-May.
As of publication, President Trump’s job approval stands at 45%, according to the RealClearPolitics average of polls.
Approval for President Trump’s handling of the coronavirus has vacillated radically over roughly the same period of time, hitting lows of 38% and 39% in early-March and late-April, according to Reuters/Ipsos and Emerson, respectively, and one high of 60% from Gallup in mid-March.
The president’s coronavirus job approval currently stands at 43.4%, according to the RealClearPolitics average.
During a recent Fox News town hall, President Trump said that he hopes for a vaccine by the end of the year:
We think we’re going to have a vaccine by the end of this year, and we’re pushing very hard. You know, we’re building supply lines now – we don’t even have the final vaccine … if you look at, Johnson & Johnson is doing it. We have many companies are, I think, close because I meet with the heads of them and I find it a very interesting subject because it’s so important, but I think we’ll have a vaccine by the end of the year.
The administration has initiated Operation Warp Speed, a “public-private partnership” with aims to drastically increase the speed at which a vaccine and “countermeasures” for COVID-19 are developed, tested, and manufactured.
According to a press release on Warp Speed from the Department of Health and Human Services: “Congress has directed almost $10 billion to this effort through supplemental funding, including the CARES Act, and Congress has appropriated other flexible funding. Over $6.5 billion has been designated by Congress for countermeasure development through BARDA, along with $3 billion for NIH research.”
Development of vaccines can typically take years, but in light of the severe health and economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, the Trump administration, as well as private companies, are racing to create a safe, effective, and scalable vaccine.
COVID-19 has infected over 5.2 million people worldwide, and led to more than 340,600 deaths, according to data from the Johns Hopkins Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) Global Cases map. Over 2 million people have recovered.
In the United States, there have been more than 1.6 million confirmed cases of COVID-19, and over 96,800 deaths. As of publication, 350,135 individuals have recovered from the virus.
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