Growing number of polls find Americans hesitant about getting a future COVID-19 vaccine

A growing number of polls have found that many U.S. citizens say they would not get a COVID-19 vaccine when one becomes available, The New York Times reported. 

Even many people who support vaccination report being wary of the COVID-19 vaccine, primarily because of how fast it is being developed. 

"I just feel like there's a rush to get a vaccine out, so I'm very hesitant," Joanne Barnes, a retired teacher from Alaska who says she otherwise always gets vaccinated, told the Times

A mistrust of vaccines has been on the rise in the U.S. in recent years and Jackie Schlegel, the founder of a group called Texans for Vaccine Choice, which fights for school vaccine exemptions, told the Times that the group's membership has skyrocketed since April. People have called the group and said that even though they've gotten every other vaccine, they won't be getting the COVID-19 vaccine, the Times reported. 

A poll conducted in late June by researchers at the University of Miami in Florida found that 22 percent of white and Latino respondents and 42 percent of Black respondents said they agreed with the statement that "The coronavirus is being used to force a dangerous and unnecessary vaccine on Americans," according to the Times

A poll conducted in late May by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found that only about half of U.S. citizens said they'd be willing to get a COVID-19 vaccine. In that poll, one in five people said they'd refuse the vaccine and 31 percent were uncertain, the Times reported. 

The polls also show that distrust in a COVID-19 vaccine is particularly pronounced in Black communities, which have been disproportionately impacted by the virus, according to the Times

Edith Perry, a member of the Maryland Community Research Advisory Board, a group that seeks to ensure that the benefits of health research encompass Black and Latino communities, told the Times that the pharmaceutical industry needs to convince young people in the Black Lives Matter organization to help encourage others to get the COVID-19 vaccine when one becomes available. 

Sandra Crouse Quinn, PhD, a professor of public health at the University of Maryland in College Park who studies issues around healthcare trust in communities of color, told the Times that one way to increase acceptance of a vaccine could be appealing to people's altruism, by telling them that "getting a vaccine, when it's available, is not just about you. It's about protecting your grandmother who has diabetes and uncle Sean, who is immune-compromised."

Researchers have said that despite billions of federal dollars being spent on developing a COVID-19 vaccine, there is virtually no funding set aside for social scientists to investigate hesitancy around vaccines, according to the Times

Read the full article here.

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