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Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

An alarming number of Americans say they'd reject a COVID-19 vaccine, posing a risk to the country's ability to achieve widespread immunity.

Why it matters: Vaccine adoption is a matter of trust, and trust in most institutions is at generational lows. NIAID director Anthony Fauci has said 70–75% of Americans will need to vaccinate to get the country on the road to normality.

Two new polls show trouble brewing:

  • More than half of New York City firefighters (who are 77% white), said in a union poll that they won't get a COVID vaccine when it becomes available to first responders, the New York Post reports.
  • Fewer than half of Black respondents (42%) in a Pew Research poll released Friday said they'd definitely or probably get a COVID vaccine if it were available today.

Trust has risen since early November, Margaret Talev reports from the Axios-Ipsos Coronavirus Index.

  • In that stretch, three pharmaceutical trials have returned positive findings on the efficacy of their COVID vaccines.
  • In our poll taken Nov. 20–23, for the first time in months, more than half of Americans (51%) say they're likely to take a first-generation COVID-19 vaccine as soon as it's available. College-educated and white Americans and Democrats are driving the trend.
  • 70% overall (55% of Black respondents and 60% of Republicans) say they'd take the vaccine if public health officials say it's safe and effective.
  • Pew finds that overall, 60% of respondents would definitely or probably take the vaccine if it were available today — up 9 points from 51% in September.

The NY Post reports that 55% of 2,053 firefighters polled last week by the Uniformed Firefighters Association (about 25% of 8,200 active members), answered "No" when asked: "Will you get the COVID-19 Vaccine from Pfizer when the Department makes it available?"

  • Firefighters union president Andy Ansbro told The Post: "A lot of them probably feel they are not in a risk category, they are younger, stronger, they may have already had it and gotten through it, and feel it's not their problem."

Go deeper: Black Americans are more skeptical of a coronavirus vaccine.

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Go deeper

Jan 29, 2021 - World

EU grants conditional approval of AstraZeneca vaccine

Photo: Sunil Ghosh/Hindustan Times via Getty Images

The European Commission on Friday granted conditional approval of the Oxford-AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine for people 18 years and older.

Why it matters: This is the third vaccine to receive approval from the commission, coming hours after the Emergency Medicines Agency recommended its authorization.

Jan 29, 2021 - Health

WHO says most pregnant women can now receive coronavirus vaccine

A doctor administering Moderna's coronavirus vaccine at a university hospital in Essen, Germany, on Jan. 18. Photo: Lukas Schulze/Getty Images

The World Health Organization has altered its guidance for pregnant women who wish to receive the coronavirus vaccine, saying now that those at high risk of exposure to the COVID-19 or who have comorbidities that increase their risk of severe disease, may be vaccinated.

Why it matters: The WHO drew backlash for its previous guidance that did not recommend pregnant women be inoculated with vaccines made by Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna, even though data indicated that pregnancy increased the risk of developing severe illness from the virus.

Updated 19 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Health: Fauci: Unvaccinated kids must wear masks in school this fall — CDC says schools should still universally require masks and physical distancing.
  2. Politics: New York to lift mask mandate for vaccinated people — CDC director says politics didn't play a role in abrupt mask policy shift.
  3. Vaccines: Sanofi, GSK COVID vaccine shows strong immune response in phase 2 trials — Vaccine-hesitant Americans cite inaccurate side effects.
  4. Business: How retailers are responding to the latest CDC guidance — Delta to require all new employees be vaccinated — Target, CVS and other stores ease mask requirements after CDC guidance.
  5. World: Taiwan raises COVID-19 alert level amid surge in cases — Biden administration to send 20 million U.S.-authorized vaccine doses abroad.
  6. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.