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THURSDAY, May 28, 2020 -- Even if a vaccine against the new coronavirus is developed, only half of Americans say they'd get it, a new survey finds.
It also found that 31% weren't sure if they'd get vaccinated, and about 1 in 5 said they wouldn't get vaccinated.
Of those who'd refuse a vaccine, 7 in 10 cited safety concerns, according to the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll.
"I am not an anti-vaxxer," Melanie Dries, 56, of Colorado Springs, Colo., told the AP. But, she said, "to get a COVID-19 vaccine within a year or two ... causes me to fear that it won't be widely tested as to side effects."
Others wouldn't hesitate to get the shot.
"I'm definitely going to get it," said Brandon Grimes, 35, of Austin, Texas. "As a father who takes care of his family, I think ... it's important for me to get vaccinated as soon as it's available to better protect my family."
Safety remains a top priority in developing a vaccine, said U.S. National Institutes of Health Director Dr. Francis Collins. The agency is developing a plan to test the safety and effectiveness of leading vaccine candidates in tens of thousands of people, the AP reported.
"I would not want people to think that we're cutting corners because that would be a big mistake. I think this is an effort to try to achieve efficiencies, but not to sacrifice rigor," Collins told the news service earlier this month.
"Definitely the worst thing that could happen is if we rush through a vaccine that turns out to have significant side effects," he added.
"The unexpected looms large and that's why I think for any of these vaccines, we're going to need a large safety database to provide the reassurance," Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease specialist at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, told the AP.
About 30% of those who wouldn't get vaccinated said they're not afraid of getting seriously ill from the coronavirus, and about 40% said they're concerned about catching COVID-19 from the shot. Most of the leading vaccine candidates don't contain the coronavirus, meaning there's no risk of infection.
The poll also found protecting themselves, their family and their community are the main reasons why people want to be vaccinated, and about 7 in 10 of those who would get vaccinated said life won't return to normal until one is available, the AP reported.
Older adults and anyone with chronic health problems such as diabetes or heart disease are at greatest risk from the new coronavirus. The poll found that 67% of people 60 and older would get vaccinated, compared with 40% of younger people.
Black and Hispanic Americans appear more vulnerable to COVID-19, due to poorer access to health care and other factors, but the poll found that only 25% of blacks and 37% of Hispanics would get a vaccine, compared to 56% of whites, the AP reported.
Currently, labs around the world are dedicated to developing a vaccine in record time. About a dozen viable candidates are currently being studied, and British researchers will soon begin a clinical trial of a candidate vaccine in over 10,000 people.
In the meantime, the Trump administration has launched "Operation Warp Speed" to quicken delivery of more than 300 million units of vaccine, but the poll found that only 20% of respondents thought a vaccine would be ready by the end of 2020.
-- Robert Preidt
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