The coronavirus’s toll on the lives of people worldwide continues to grow, with over 18 million confirmed cases and more than 700,000 deaths, including upwards of 150,000 of those in the United States. Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, recently testified before Congress that he continues to be confident that a coronavirus vaccine will be ready by early 2021. With more indications that a vaccine could be closed, the next question for health professionals, policymakers, and political leaders will be Americans’ willingness to be vaccinated once a vaccine is ready.
But many Americans appear reluctant to be vaccinated, even if a vaccine were FDA-approved and available to them at no cost. If they would get such a COVID-19 vaccine, 65% say they would, but 35% would not.
The results are based on July 20-Aug. Two polling in Gallup’s Covid-19 tracking survey, conducted with members of Gallup’s probability-based panel.
While Gallup has consistently seen that U.S. party preferences play a strong role in Americans’ views on Covid-19, the new poll extends that to a willingness to be vaccinated. Eighty-one percent of Democrats are willing to be vaccinated today if a free and FDA-approved vaccine were available. That compares with 59% of independents and just under half of Republicans, 47%.
Older Americans have been most likely to have serious complications, including death, from Covid-19. Yet, young people are still affected, and an increasing proportion of new infections occur among younger adults, possibly because this age group is engaging in riskier behaviors that promote the spread of the disease.
Given the age-related risks seen to date, it may come as good news to public health officials that 76% of adults aged 18-29 are willing to get a Covid-19 vaccination, 70% of senior citizens. Willingness to be vaccinated is lower among the middle-aged groups — 64% among those 30-49 years old and 59% among those between 50 and 64.