Poll: Half of Americans would get a COVID-19 vaccine; experts concerned

Poll: Half of Americans would get a COVID-19 vaccine; Experts concerned

CHARLOTTE — Only about half of Americans say they would get a COVID-19 vaccine if the scientists working furiously to create one succeed, a number that’s surprisingly low considering the effort going into the global race for a vaccine.

But more people might eventually roll up their sleeves: The new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found 31% simply weren’t sure if they’d get vaccinated. Another 1 in 5 said they’d refuse.

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Health experts already worry about the whiplash if vaccine promises like President Donald Trump’s goal of a 300 million-dose stockpile by January fail. Only time and science will tell -- and the new poll shows the public is indeed skeptical.

The new coronavirus is most dangerous to older adults and people of any age who have chronic health problems such as diabetes or heart disease. The poll found 67% of people 60 and older say they’d get vaccinated, compared with 40% who are younger.

And death counts suggest black and Hispanic Americans are more vulnerable to COVID-19, because of unequal access to health care and other factors. Yet the poll found just 25% of African Americans and 37% of Hispanics would get a vaccine compared to 56% of whites.

“We know that minority populations, we know that people with underlying medical conditions are more at risk, so you’re going to want to have outreach,” said Thomas Denny, Duke Human Vaccine Institute. “The question is, ‘Will they have trust and confidence in the medical teams and the public health teams saying this is a good thing?’”

>> In the video at the top of this page, reporter DaShawn Brown speaks with Denny about recruiting community leaders to get more people on board.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.