Just 49% of Americans say they would get COVID-19 vaccine, survey finds

Covid Survey Chart

CHICAGO, Ill. — Only 49 percent of Americans say they would get a COVID-19 vaccine if scientists around the world striving to create one are successful, a nationwide survey found.

Another 31% said they simply aren’t sure, and 1 in 5 say they would refuse to get a shot, according to a the results of a survey that The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research in Chicago released Wednesday.

About a dozen vaccine candidates worldwide are in the early stages of testing on people or poised to begin such tests.

The AP-NORC findings, based on a survey this month,  show that the public has a lot of questions about COVID-19 and efforts to curb and cure it.

U.S. health officials insist that safety is the top priority as vaccine candidates move into larger studies. They also insist that a vaccine is the critical component to ending the pandemic.

The survey found that 20% of Americans expect a COVID-19 vaccine to be available to the public before the end of this year, while 61% expect it to be ready sometime next year and 17% believe it will take longer than that.

Older Americans and those who worry that they or someone in their household could become infected with the novel coronavirus are more inclined to say they would get a vaccine.

Black Americans are more likely than other racial and ethnic groups to indicate that they do not plan to get the vaccine, according to the survey.

Among all Americans, 79% said a vaccine is an important criteria for reopening activities and businesses in their areas. Forty-six percent said it’s essential for reopening, while 33% said it’s important but not essential.

Those who plan to to get the vaccine said they would do so primarily to protect themselves and their families. But many also cited protecting their community.

Many also opined that widespread vaccination is necessary for life to go back to normal, or whatever passes for normal in the future.

The poll was conducted May 14-18  using the AmeriSpeak Panel, the probability-based panel of NORC at the University of Chicago. Online and telephone interviews using landlines and cell phones were conducted with 1,056 adults. The margin of sampling error is plus or minus 4.2 percentage points.