About half of Americans say they would get a COVID-19 vaccine if one is available, according to the Associated Press.
A massive national and international effort is underway to develop a vaccine for the coronavirus. According to the poll, 20% of Americans believe a vaccine will be available before the end of 2020. Another 61% think it will arrive in 2021, and 17% say it will take longer.
“It’s always better to under-promise and over-deliver,” William Schaffner, MD, an infectious disease specialist at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, told the AP.
Americans over age 60 were more likely to say they’ll get a coronavirus vaccine when it’s available. Those who worry that they or someone in their household could become infected with the virus were also more likely to say they’ll get a vaccine. However, Black Americans were more likely than were Hispanic or white responders to say that they don’t plan to get a vaccine.
Among those who plan to get a vaccine, 93% said they want to protect themselves, and 88% said they want to protect their family. About 72% said “life won’t go back to normal until most people are vaccinated,” and 33% said they have a chronic health condition such as asthma or diabetes and believe it’s important to receive a vaccine.
Among those who don’t plan to get a vaccine, 70% said they’re concerned about side effects. Another 42% are worried about getting the coronavirus from the vaccine. Others say they’re not concerned about getting seriously ill from the coronavirus, they don’t think vaccines work well, the COVID-19 outbreak isn’t serious, or they don’t like needles.
The National Institutes of Health says that safety is the top priority and is creating a plan to test the vaccine in thousands of people for safety and efficacy in coming months, according to the AP.
“I would not want people to think that we’re cutting corners because that would be a big mistake,” NIH director Francis Collins, MD, told AP earlier this month. “I think this is an effort to try to achieve efficiencies but not to sacrifice rigor.”
This article first appeared on WebMD.com.