More Americans plan to get COVID-19 vaccine when it's available, survey suggests

Posted at 6:38 PM, Dec 08, 2020

TAMPA, Fla. — When a COVID-19 vaccine is approved and available, will people get it? An analysis from Pew Research Center suggests more people might be planning on it.

Pew Research Center found the share of Americans who say they plan to get vaccinated has gone up, it says as “the public has grown more confident that the development process will deliver a safe and effective vaccine."

“I think that as we roll it out and as people see how it’s affecting people positively and not affecting them negatively that they’ll say, ‘I’m ready to get this,” said USF Health professor Dr. Jay Wolfson.

Survey results showed overall, 60% of Americans say they’d definitely or probably get a vaccine if it were available today. That’s up from 51% in September. Research found about four in ten said they definitely or probably would not get a vaccine, although about half of that group said it's possible they’d change their mind “once people start getting a vaccine and more information becomes available.”

For holdouts, Dr. Jay Wolfson thinks a direct, personal impact from COVID-19 can change someone’s perception.

“Let’s focus on the 70%+ or 80%+ of the population that probably would [get a vaccine] if they felt comfortable with it and if they saw others taking it and they didn’t get sick, or if they felt they were at high enough risk, or if they had an experience with COVID and they want to protect themselves,” said Wolfson. “What we can do to enhance that 70% or 80% is to make sure that our leaders, our political leaders and our business leaders get out in front of this and say, ‘Folks, this is real. Let’s work on this together.”

Dr. Wolfson says we need about 70% of the population vaccinated, which he reminds won’t happen right away. Wolfson also points to the challenge of vaccine distribution, which he calls the greatest logistical effort since WWII.

“The good news is the science and the medicine have been pushing the forefront, and we’ve got something now that gives us a light at the end of the tunnel that we simply didn’t have before,” said Wolfson.