Would you get a Covid-19 Vaccine? Initial Results from One American Study
The Journal, “Annals of Internal Medicine,” has just published an interesting study on attitudes towards a Covid-19 vaccine back in April 2020 in the United States. Entitled, “Attitudes Toward a Potential SARS-CoV-2 Vaccine: A Survey of U.S. Adults,” the researchers surveyed nearly 1,000 adults representing 97% of American households.
The findings make for some interesting reading. Overall, 57.6% of participants (n = 571) intended to be vaccinated, 31.6% (n = 313) were not sure, and 10.8% (n = 107) did not intend to be vaccinated. This is interesting from a number of perspectives. For instance, those hoping for an effective vaccine to be developed are bonking not just on the personal beneficial effects for those who accept the vaccine, but also on using the vaccine to achieve “herd immunity.” In other words, if enough people get vaccinated and develop immunity against the virus, the rate of spread could effectively be cut down to nil, thus offering protection even to those who might not be able to have the vaccine for a number of reasons. In the case of childhood vaccines, such as for measles, this herd immunity is achieved when coverage is above 95% of the target population at risk.
Those more likely to be reluctant to get a vaccine were identified as falling into the following population groups:
- Young people
- People identifying as black
- Those with lower educational attainment
- Not having received the influenza vaccine in the prior year
- Holding vaccine-specific concerns
- A need for more information
- Antivaccine attitudes or beliefs
- Lack of trust.
Based on our accummulated knowledge to date, we now know that certain groups are at higher risk from the more serious outcomes of Covid-19. Among these are people with a Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic background. In light of the racial disparities in the USA, it would appear that blacks face a double-whammy due to the enhanced probability of lower educational attainment. The influential antivaccine movement in the USA also complicates matters further.
At the same time, although young people are generally likely to be able to weather the illness with minimal effects, it is useful to remember that they might be asymptomatic carriers who then transmit the illness to more vulnerable groups. In the UK they have been blamed for a recent upsurge in the number of confirmed positive cases.
However, looking at the peper referred to above, it is important to note that the study was undertaken between the 16th and 21st of April, before information about any potential vaccines was widely available, at a time when the extent of Covid-19 across the USA was limited and there was a higher level of ignorance about the illness. In addition to this, there might be some questions around the quality of sampling done for the paper. Finally, as vaccine development is still under way, we are still uncertain about how long any immunoprotective effects from the vaccine would last; or indeed if “herd immunity” – natural or achieved through vaccination – can be attained.
All the same, it would be useful to undertake the same study now to see if the ratios have changed. What do you think? Would you personally have the vaccine?