Robin Foster and Ernie Mundell
MONDAY, Dec. 28, 2020 (HealthDay News) — When queried in polls conducted earlier this year, only about half of American adults said they planned to get any vaccine against the new coronavirus. But after a largely successful rollout this month of two safe and effective shots, many of those initial doubters now say they’ll line up to get their vaccine doses when their turn comes.
According to The New York Times, polls conducted by Gallup, the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Pew Research Center all show vaccine acceptance rates rising from about 50% this summer to more than 60% and, in one poll, 73%.
That last number approaches the threshold scientists have deemed necessary for herd immunity, where enough of a population is immune and the spread of the coronavirus begins to recede.
“As soon as it is my turn to get the vaccine, I will be there front and center! I am very excited and hopeful,” Joanne Barnes, 68, a retired elementary school teacher from Fairbanks, Alaska, told the Times.
Earlier this summer, Barnes had told the paper the opposite; that she would not get the shot. The game-changers for her, Barnes said, were “the Biden administration, returning to listening to science and the fantastic stats associated with the vaccines.”
With more than 19 million COVID-19 cases in the United States by Monday and more than 333,000 Americans now killed by the disease, more people than ever have now been personally affected by the new coronavirus. That harsh reality might also be driving some to reconsider getting the shot.
“More people have either been affected or infected by COVID,” Rupali Limaye, an expert on vaccine behavior at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, told the Times. “They know someone who had a severe case or died. They are fatigued and want to get back to their normal lives.”
Media campaigns, including on-camera moments with politicians and scientists — such as Vice President Mike Pence, President-Elect Joe Biden and Dr. Anthony Fauci — all rolling up their sleeves for the shots may have also helped boost acceptance.
Still, large pockets of skepticism and resistance to vaccination remain. According to the Times, mistrust of the vaccine is higher among Blacks than whites, among Republicans compared to Democrats, and among people living in rural areas versus those in cities.
Still, resistance is fading slowly among most groups, the Times said.
One Black American, Mike Brown, runs a barbershop in Hyattsville, Md. This summer he said he wouldn’t get any COVID-19 vaccine, but has since changed his mind.
“The news that it was 95% effective sold me,” Brown told the Times. “The side effects sound like what you get after a bad night of drinking and you hurt the next day. Well, I’ve had many of those and I can deal with that to get rid of the face masks.”