President Donald Trump is insisting that a vaccine for COVID-19 will be conveniently available right around the time of the election. The problem is that it seems no one wants to take it.
The number of Americans who say they’ll get the coronavirus vaccine as soon as it’s available has plummeted in the last month, a new Axios-Ipsos poll showed. While 39% of respondents said they would take the first generation vaccine, 60% say they won’t take the vaccine as soon as it becomes available.
Last month, the same pollster showed that the numbers were roughly split. The numbers have tanked for members of both parties; whereas last month 56% of Democrats said they plan to take the first-generation vaccine, now just 43% say they do. And among Republicans, just a third of those polled say they plan to take the vaccine when it’s available, as opposed to more than 40% last month. Independents notably remained largely unmoved.
Asked when they would be comfortable taking a vaccine, the largest share of people surveyed—30%—said they would wait a few months. The next-largest share, 23%, said they wouldn’t get it at all, and just 13% said they would try to get the vaccine immediately.
Trump said last week that the U.S. could begin distributing a coronavirus vaccine as early as October, directly contradicting CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield’s statement in a Senate hearing last week where he set a timeline of next summer or early fall with limited vaccinations beginning in November and December. The CDC has also issued guidance to public health officials in all 50 states outlining a process to distribute vaccines to healthcare workers and high-risk groups in late October or early November—right around the time of the election.
“I think he made a mistake when he said that,” Trump said of Redfield’s testimony during a White House press briefing last Wednesday. “It’s just incorrect information, and I called him and he didn’t tell me that and I think he got the message maybe confused, maybe it was stated incorrectly.”
Trump also said last week that all Americans would have doses of the vaccine by March, but then he changed it to April. "Hundreds of millions of doses will be available every month, and we expect to have enough vaccines for every American by April," the president said Friday.
Nine potential vaccines are currently in large-scale Phase III trials, according to the New York Times. Vaccines normally take years to develop, and the risks associated with rushing a vaccine to market are clear; earlier this month, global pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca paused its Phase III trial in the U.S. after a volunteer participant developed a rare spinal inflammatory disorder.
AstraZeneca and eight other companies, including Pfizer and Moderna, signed a pledge earlier this month promising to develop their vaccines with “high ethical standards and sound scientific principles,” in order to “ensure public confidence in the rigorous scientific and regulatory process.”
Cover: A "promotora" (health promoter) from CASA, a Hispanic advocacy group, tries to enroll Latinos as volunteers to test a potential COVID-19 vaccine, at a farmers market in Takoma Park, Maryland, on Sept. 9, 2020. (AP Photo/Federica Narancio)