News & Opinion | August 7, 2020 1:53 pm

Gallup Poll: 35% of Americans Unwilling to Get the COVID-19 Vaccine

The cohort is largely comprised of Republicans

Testing in a lab
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According to a new Gallup poll, an astonishing number of Americans would refuse to get the COVID-19 vaccine, whenever it may arrive. A July 20 to Aug. 2 tracking survey revealed that 35 percent of the country has no intention of being vaccinated for the deadly virus, even if it comes FDA-approved and available to them at no cost.

For public health officials already sick of having to convince Americans — particularly Republicans — to wear face coverings, this data suggests that the real battle has only just begun. While 81 percent of Democrats said that they would agree to be vaccinated, only 47 percent of Republicans voted “Yes.” Independents came in at 59 percent. It’s a baffling twist; back in December 2019, before most people had ever heard of COVID-19, a commanding 84 percent of Americans had voted in another Gallup poll, agreeing: “It’s extremely or very important that parents get their children vaccinated.” Somehow, a once-in-a-century pandemic that’s killed 712K people (as of August 7, 2020) has generated an army of anti-vaxxers across the country.

It’s unclear exactly what will need to happen to convince certain Americans that ending the pandemic is more important than supporting a science-denying demagogue, but it seems, at least, that certain age groups get it more than others. Perhaps they can help spread the word. The youngest and oldest cohorts (18-29 and 65+) both voted overwhelmingly in support of the vaccine. Other concerning distinctions: Non-white Americans and rural areas are the both less likely to get get the vaccine. Considering that minorities have been disproportionately affected by the virus, and small-town areas have less access to expert care to begin with, public health officials should work to get ahead of this unwillingness early.

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