Sep 17, 2020 - Health

Pew: 49% of Americans would not get COVID-19 vaccine if available today

A health care worker a dose of a COVID-19 vaccine now in phase three clinical trials in Hollywood, Florida, in August.
A health care worker holds a COVID-19 vaccine at the Research Centers of America (RCA) in Hollywood, Florida on Aug. 13. Photo: Chandan Khanna/AFP via Getty Images

51% of U.S. adults would "definitely or probably" get a coronavirus vaccine if the treatment were available today, while 49% would not, according to a Pew survey published Thursday.

Why it matters: All major political and demographic groups said they are less likely to get a COVID-19 vaccine since May, Pew finds, although Republicans and Black adults are least likely.

By the numbers: Intent to get a vaccine fell from 72% in May to 51%.

  • 58% of Democrats said they would probably or definitely be vaccinated, while 44% of Republicans said they would — a 14-percentage point divide.
  • 32% of Black adults said they would definitely or probably get a vaccine, compared to 52% of White adults, 56% of Hispanics and 72% of Asian Americans.

Between the lines: Worries about side effects and uncertainty as to how effective a vaccine would be were commonly cited in the survey as reasons for wanting to avoid a vaccine if one were available.

  • Of the 49% Americans who said they would not get vaccinated, 76% attributed that opinion to side effects.

The big picture: There are eight potential vaccines in late-stage trials right now, per Axios' Sam Baker, and the first could reach FDA review as early as October or November.

The bottom line: A coronavirus vaccine is needed to reinforce herd immunity, especially without a significant loss of life.

Methodology: Survey of 10,093 respondents from the Pew American Trends Panel conducted from Sept. 8 to Sept. 13. MOE ± 1.6 percentage points.

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