As the Vaccines Roll Out, a Shift in Perceptions

46% of Americans now willing to get one ASAP, compared to 26% in late October
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 22, 2020 6:39 AM CST
As the Vaccines Roll Out, a Shift in Perceptions
In this Dec. 14, 2020, file photo, Sandra Lindsay, left, a nurse at Long Island Jewish Medical Center, is inoculated with the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in the Queens borough of New York.   (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, Pool, File)

Two months ago, a USA Today/Suffolk University poll showed a wariness among Americans toward the coronavirus vaccine, with only 26% willing to roll their sleeves up for the shot as soon as it became available to them. Now, just days after the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine rollouts began for health care workers and nursing home residents, and politicians started getting inoculated in public to raise Americans' confidence, a new survey shows numbers more heartening to public health experts, per USA Today. The most recent USA Today/Suffolk University poll, which surveyed 1,000 registered voters from Wednesday to Sunday, now shows 46% of Americans are ready to get the shot ASAP when it's their turn in the queue, while 32% say they'll go for their vaccinations only after waiting a bit for others to get it first. One-fifth of respondents say they won't be getting the shot at all.

That 20% remains virtually unchanged from the October poll, and those are the people public health experts are concerned about, as it could affect achieving the herd immunity the US needs to vanquish the pandemic. Of those on the fence, nearly two-thirds say they're concerned the vaccine may not be safe, 14% don't ever get vaccinated, and 8% don't see the coronavirus as a significant threat. Per FiveThirtyEight, experts still aren't sure if getting the vaccine will keep the virus totally in check—those who get the shot may not get very sick if they become infected, but there's still a possibility they could spread the disease to others—though the site acknowledges there's "general agreement that the higher the rate of COVID-19 vaccination, the better." It also notes the number of Americans likely to get the vaccine may rise even more in the coming weeks and months as they see others getting the shot with only minor side effects. (Read more coronavirus vaccine stories.)

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