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Not Everyone Wants COVID-19 Vaccine


The 11th day of protest in Washington, D.C. after a police officer killed a black man in Minneapolis. Black Americans are less likely than other groups to get a COVID-19 vaccine, according to an Associated Press poll. (By The New York Times)

As more and more acquaintances, friends and relatives become ill with COVID-19, politicians hold out the hope of a vaccine that will vanquish the specter of the new coronavirus.

They focus on when a vaccine can be developed, not if it is possible. Indeed, a vaccine is imagined to be a panacea. The underlying assumption is that everyone would want and get a vaccine.

Not true.

Only 49 percent of surveyed Americans plan to get vaccinated, and 20 percent said that they would not. Another 31 percent was not sure, according to the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Research at the University of Chicago, which polled 1,056 adults.

The survey was taken between May 14 and May 18, one week before a police officer killed George Floyd, a black man, in Minneapolis, sparking days of demonstrations across the country against police brutality.


Black Americans (25 percent) are less likely than Hispanics (37 percent) and Whites (56 percent) to say that they would plan to get the vaccine.

Older Americans (67 percent) and those who worry that they or someone in their household could be infected with the virus (55 percent) are more inclined to say that they would plan to get a novel coronavirus vaccine if it becomes available.

Based on early estimates of the virus’ infectiousness, at least 70 percent of the population would have to be immune, either by getting a protective vaccine or getting infected, to stop the spread of COVID-19, according to the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health article “What Is Herd Immunity and How Can We Achieve It With COVID-19” on April 10.

The reasons given for not planning to get the vaccine are the following:

I would be concerned about side effects from the vaccine (70%)

I would be concerned about getting infected with the coronavirus

from the vaccine (42%)

I’m not concerned about getting seriously ill

from the coronavirus (31%)

I don’t think vaccines work very well (30 %)

The coronavirus outbreak is not as serious as some people say (24%)

I don’t like needles (10%)

I am allergic to vaccines (5%)

I won’t have time to get vaccinated (2%)

The reasons given for planning to get the vaccine are the following:

I want to protect myself (93%)

I want to protect my family (88%)

It would be the best way to avoid getting seriously ill

from the coronavirus (82%)

It would allow me to feel safe around other people (81%)

I want to protect my community (78%)

Life won’t go back to normal until most people

are vaccinated (72%)

My doctor recommends vaccines (46%)

I have a chronic health condition, such as asthma or diabetes,

so it is important that I receive a coronavirus vaccine (33%)

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