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This coronavirus vaccine statistic is pretty scary

Published Sep 22nd, 2020 7:06PM EDT
Coronavirus vaccine
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  • The latest Axios-Ipsos Coronavirus Index reveals that a shocking number of Americans don’t intend to take the first-generation coronavirus vaccine, which has all sorts of implications for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic, among other things.
  • The index reveals that skepticism around a COVID-19 vaccine is also pretty bipartisan, with the numbers of both Democrats and Republicans who say they’d take the first coronavirus vaccine continuing to fall.
  • Around half of Americans also expect the vaccine to be either offered for free or at a very minor cost.

Don’t set your hopes too high regarding the first coronavirus vaccine, which could start arriving in as soon as a month or two from now. That’s according to Dale Fisher, a professor of infectious diseases at the National University of Singapore Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, who told CNBC this week that a vaccine is only going to help the situation once it arrives — as opposed to definitely solving the crisis.

“It’s not going to be the fairytale (ending) everyone wants it to be, where we’ll have a 100% effective vaccine and 100% of people will take it, and they’ll all receive it over the course of a month and we can go back to our way of life,” Fisher warned. This might help explain why the share of Americans who say they’re willing to get a dose of the first COVID-19 vaccine as soon as it arrives keeps falling, according to the Axios-Ipsos Coronavirus Index which has been regularly tracking sentiment around a vaccine.

The percentage of Americans who say they don’t want the vaccine right away is, from one point of view, pretty staggering. According to the index, only 13% of Americans say they’d be willing to get vaccinated right away, while around 60% don’t want the COVID-19 vaccine immediately. That’s up from a little more than 50% back in August.

In addition to the headline finding here being that a majority of Americans say they won’t take the first-generation vaccine, which has all kinds of implications that affect the longevity of the pandemic, the latest Axios-Ipsos Coronavirus Index also found that “half of Americans expect that the vaccine will be provided to them at no cost, and if they had to pay, a majority would pay less than $50, or nothing at all.”

Going a little deeper, the index also reveals that:

  • The increasing reluctance to take the first COVID-19 vaccine once it’s available is pretty bipartisan. The numbers of both Democrats and Republicans alike who say they’re likely to get a vaccine as soon as it’s available are falling.
  • Around a third of the respondents herein said they’d want to wait at least a few months after the first vaccine becomes available (30%) while 18% said they’d want to wait until a year or more after a vaccine is available before they get vaccinated.
  • On a related note, most Americans (60%) said they don’t trust pharmaceutical companies to look out for their best interests.

Another perhaps unsurprising finding: Republicans are more optimistic that things are going in the direction they should, relative to the coronavirus pandemic, than Democrats. “Levels of optimism about getting the virus under control, as well as the federal government’s role in our country’s recovery, illustrate the deeply polarized views that persist about COVID-19,” reads a summary of the latest index’s findings.

“Overall, 57% of Americans are very or somewhat hopeful that the US will get the COVID-19 pandemic under control in the next six months. However, Republicans are significantly more optimistic than Democrats — there is a 40 percentage-point difference between the two — while Independents are more evenly split on being hopeful or not.”

Andy Meek Trending News Editor

Andy Meek is a reporter based in Memphis who has covered media, entertainment, and culture for over 20 years. His work has appeared in outlets including The Guardian, Forbes, and The Financial Times, and he’s written for BGR since 2015. Andy's coverage includes technology and entertainment, and he has a particular interest in all things streaming.

Over the years, he’s interviewed legendary figures in entertainment and tech that range from Stan Lee to John McAfee, Peter Thiel, and Reed Hastings.

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