We don't know when or even if a safe and effective vaccine for the novel coronavirus or COVID-19 will be available, but even if one becomes available to the general public later this year or next, will Americans take it?
Most Americans probably will especially if it's free, but a new poll from the Associated Press found that about half of the country either won't take it or isn't sure yet.
That includes about 1 in 5 people who will refuse.
That’s surprisingly low considering the effort going into the global race for a vaccine against the coronavirus that has sparked a pandemic since first emerging from China late last year. But more people might eventually roll up their sleeves: The poll, released Wednesday, found 31% simply weren’t sure if they’d get vaccinated. Another 1 in 5 said they’d refuse.
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.
“It’s always better to under-promise and over-deliver,” said Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease specialist at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
More so than Trump over-promising, it occurred to me when reading this story that we should probably be prepared for the possibility that Trump will personally attack any vaccine if one isn't approved until he's out office.
I would not put it past Trump to use his large media platform to say a vaccine isn't safe just because he's bitter about losing to Joe Biden; not because there's any scientific reason.
Trump using his platform to attack a vaccine would not be out of character for him. Promoting a vaccine is out of character. You may recall that up until a global pandemic emerged, Trump was against vaccines. Trump even said they cause autism before he ran for office. Pivoting back to that position once he no longer has to care will be as easy as breathing.
It's a bridge we'll have to cross when we get there, but states may want to consider making the COVID vaccine mandatory. There will be pockets of resistance and court battles over it, but this isn't one we can leave to Freedumb.