Only 42% Would Get Vaccinated Against COVID

Ralph Ellis

August 07, 2020

Editor's note: Find the latest COVID-19 news and guidance in Medscape's Coronavirus Resource Center.

Only 42% of Americans questioned in a new poll say they'd get vaccinated for the coronavirus when and if a vaccine is made available.

The Yahoo News/YouGov poll was conducted July 28-30 among 1,506 adults and provided the lowest percentage of "yes" answers since the poll started asking this question: "If and when a coronavirus vaccine becomes available, will you get vaccinated?"

The "yes" percentages have gone from 55% in early May to 50% in late May and 46% in early July.

But there are a lot of people on the fence. The Yahoo News/YouGov polls have shown 26-33% saying they're not sure, with 19-25% saying they won't get vaccinated.

Political affiliations make a difference. About 55% of Democrats most recently said they plan to get vaccinated, compared to 70% in early May. Among Republicans, 37% most recently said "yes," compared to 47% in early May.

The poll also showed the percentage of people who'd get vaccinated drops under certain conditions.

When asked if they'd take the vaccine if it caused side effects such as fever or headaches in a third of those who receive it, the "yes" answers fell from 42% to 35%. The "no" answers went from 27% to 40% and the "not-sure" answers went from 32% to 25%.

When asked if they'd take the vaccine if it required multiple doses over several weeks ― a very possible scenario ― 39% said "yes" and 38% said "no." That's an 11-point increase in "no" answers.

Yahoo News said the dropping numbers of people who'd say they'd get tested puts doubt into how much good a vaccine will do.

"Vaccines against different diseases vary in their effectiveness," Yahoo News said. "The efficacy of the measles vaccine is 95 percent to 98 percent, which means that If 100 people who haven't been exposed to the measles were given that vaccine, 95 to 98 of them wouldn't get infected (on average). The efficacy of the flu vaccine generally ranges from 40 percent to 60 percent. The more effective a vaccine is, the fewer vaccinated people it takes to stop a pandemic. The reverse is also true — as efficacy falls, coverage must rise.

"Last month, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said it would be willing to approve a COVID-19 candidate vaccine with an efficacy of 50 percent. Such a vaccine would help slow the virus's spread, but it probably wouldn't extinguish the U.S. epidemic — even if all Americans got vaccinated."


Yahoo. "Yahoo News/YouGov coronavirus poll: Number of Americans who plan to get vaccinated falls to 42% — a new low"