Coronavirus: Survey results show one in three Americans would not get COVID-19 vaccine

Coronavirus: Survey results show one in three Americans would not get COVID-19 vaccine
More than a third of those polled in a recent Gallup survey said they would not take a COVID-19 vaccine if it was available now. (Photo illustration by Carol Smiljan/NurPhoto via Getty Images/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

As the number of COVID-19 infections hit 5 million in the United States, one in three Americans surveyed in a Gallup poll said they would not get a vaccine for the virus were it available now.

The poll, conducted July 20-Aug. 2, asked respondents if they would be likely to take a free, Food and Drug Administration-approved vaccine. Sixty-five percent said they would, while 35% said they would not get the vaccination.

According to the poll, the willingness to get the vaccine broke strongly along political party lines. Eighty-one percent of Democrats surveyed are willing to be vaccinated today, while 59% of independents and 47% of Republicans say they would like the vaccine.

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Seventy percent of those 65 or older said they would get the vaccine, and 76% of those 18-29 said they want to be vaccinated. Non-white Americans are slightly less likely to want the vaccine than white Americans at 59% to 67%.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious diseases expert, said last month that the United States "could start talking about real normality again" in 2021 when a vaccine becomes available and distributed.  

Fauci said in an interview with CNN's David Axelrod last month that the companies working on vaccines had told him they "would have doses to the tunes of tens of millions early in the year, and up to hundreds of millions as we get well into 2021."

"The timetable you suggested of getting into 2021, well into the year, then I can think with a successful vaccine — if we could vaccinate the overwhelming majority of the population — we could start talking about real normality again," Fauci said. "But it is going to be a gradual process."

No other prospective vaccine for a pathogen has entered final-stage clinical trials as rapidly as those potential vaccines for the COVID-19 virus have. It has taken six months from when the virus’s genetic sequence was uploaded to a public website for several vaccines to reach final-stage clinical trials. In the past, that process has taken years, and in some cases decades.

According to a story on Statnews.com, because the virus is a coronavirus, it is an easier target for potential vaccines, and that cuts the time needed to produce a vaccination.

“Once we got the sequence, we pulled the trigger to ask how fast we could go,” Barney Graham, the deputy director of the National Institutes of Health’s Vaccine Research Center, told Statnews. “And because it was a coronavirus, we could get into a Phase 3 trial in six months instead of two years.”

The COVID-19 virus is an acute disease, according to scientists, meaning that the infection is one that most people will clear on their own. This allows researchers to develop a vaccine that can help people to produce that response.