Five pollsters that have recently tracked how Americans feel about a coronavirus vaccine have found a mixed willingness to receive one, with a range of 45 to 61 percent of the public saying they will or are likely to get the injections.
The seven surveys, conducted by five firms since Nov. 1, illustrate the possible challenges that may await public health officials as they seek to inoculate Americans against a virus that has sickened more than 15 million and killed nearly 290,000.
Pfizer and Moderna, the companies behind the two vaccine front-runners, have said their drugs are safe and effective. But many of those who are unwilling or unsure about coronavirus vaccination say they are not very confident in the safety of the development and approval process or in the federal government’s ability to oversee it, the polls found.
In a Quinnipiac University poll published Wednesday, 6 in 10 registered voters said they’re willing to get a vaccine “if it is approved by government health officials.” But 37 percent said they would take the vaccine as soon as it’s available to them, while 41 percent said they would “wait a few months.”
“When it comes time to roll up the sleeve, will Americans put their trust in the vaccine? The answer is yes, but as far as timing, there will be no rush to be first in line,” Tim Malloy, a Quinnipiac polling analyst, said in a statement.
But there are key differences among the surveys that tell a more complicated story.
Another poll released Wednesday, from AP-NORC, found that just under half — 47 percent — currently plan to get the vaccine when it becomes available. An additional 26 percent said they don’t plan on vaccinating, while 27 percent are unsure. That last category is crucial.
The AP-NORC results contrast with three of the other recent surveys, including those by Pew Research Center and Gallup, which show a clear majority of the public is inclined to get the vaccine. But the AP-NORC poll offered a response option others did not: “not sure,” which more than a quarter of respondents chose.
While the AP-NORC survey found a lower percentage of people who said they would get a vaccine, it also found a lower percentage of people who said they wouldn’t get one: 26 percent.
The Quinnipiac survey found 33 percent of people were not willing. An Axios-Ipsos poll also released this week found 47 percent of people were not likely to get the vaccine, and a Pew Research Center survey released last week found that 39 percent said they would not get it.
Both Pew and Gallup polls show vaccine interest has rebounded after a significant drop in September, but it is unclear how Americans’ attitudes toward the vaccines will change as time passes, final regulatory hurdles are cleared and they are actually presented with the opportunity to be inoculated.