- The percentage of Americans willing to take a coronavirus vaccine now stands at 71% compared to 51% back in September.
- According to Dr. Fauci, an estimated 75% of Americans will need to take a COVID-19 vaccine to defeat the coronavirus for good.
- With more Americans now willing to take a coronavirus vaccine, it perhaps signals that we’re ready to fully embrace science and pay less attention to unsubstantiated scientific claims and conspiracy theories.
I’ve never been a fan of conspiracy theories, if only for the fact that people who willfully ignore evidence to justify their preconceived notions can be impossible to reason with. In some instances — like the crackpot belief that vaccines cause autism — conspiracy theories can be downright dangerous. Whether we’re talking about people who believe the earth is flat or people who maintain that 9/11 was an inside job, it’s beyond dumbfounding that people today are willing to cling to bizarre theories in an age where we have access to more information than ever before.
With that said, Foreign Policy recently brought up an interesting point: the growing number of people willing to take a coronavirus vaccine perhaps illustrates that Americans, on the whole, are ready to “embrace science again.”
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Back in September, a Pew Research Center survey found that 49% of Americans had no interest in taking a coronavirus vaccine due to concerns over side effects. Over the past few months, however, that number has gone down for a variety of reasons.
For starters, the recent spike in coronavirus infections and deaths shows how deadly the virus truly is. Even people who were long skeptical or dismissive of coronavirus safety measures can’t ignore what’s happening across the country. All told, the U.S. this year will likely see more than 3 million deaths for the first time in history.
Second, no serious side effects were observed in volunteers who took coronavirus vaccines developed by Pfizer and Moderna. While one person during clinical trials experienced symptoms that he likened to a “severe hangover,” most symptoms were said to mild and were limited to a slight fever, headache, and fatigue. What’s more, volunteers who experienced side effects noted that they typically went away within 24 hours.
As it stands now, an estimated 71% of Americans have expressed a willingness to take a coronavirus vaccine when it becomes available.
Given how close the new total comes to Fauci’s target figure of 75 percent, the study augurs very well for the country’s chances of containing the pandemic and starting to rebuild next year. After creating a vaccine in the first place, getting a wary U.S. public to take it was one of the big hurdles; now the country seems likely to clear it.
But the good news goes even further. Rising confidence in the vaccine points to a deeper trend that could make 2021 a critical turning point: the year when Americans finally embrace science again, after increasingly abandoning objective truth and rejecting expertise of all kinds.
Recall, the coronavirus vaccine can only help defeat the pandemic if a majority of Americans take it. According to Fauci, approximately 75% to 85% of Americans will need to take the vaccine to put the pandemic behind us. And seeing that we’re already at 71%, it’s clear that we’re on the right track.