COVID-19 Vaccines on the Horizon, but Many Americans Remain Skeptical
The Lancet, among the world's oldest and most well-known medical journals, reported this morning that Oxford University, in partnership with AstraZeneca, completed a coronavirus vaccine human trial that produced strong immune responses in the 1,000 test participants. The researchers found no serious adverse side effects, while fatigue and headache were the most commonly reported.
There are nearly two dozen phase one trials being conducted around the world as pharmaceutical companies race to find a safe, effective vaccine for the novel coronavirus. Meanwhile, Alabama reported another 1,846 cases today, with three additional deaths.
Alabama has a fairly high rate of vaccination for children entering kindergarten. The law mandates children receive vaccines, but allows exemptions for religious and medical purposes. Data from the CDC shows Alabama had at least 90.6 percent compliance with vaccination requirements, likely higher. Additionally, most businesses have the ability to mandate their employees receive a vaccination like a flu shot. As most vaccines - like for measles, mumps, rubella (MMR), and hepatitis - have been around for decades, any future vaccine for COVID-19 would enter the market at a time when many feel the healthcare debate has become overly politicized. This, along with other socioeconomic factors, could impact people's willingness to get vaccinated.
In a May poll done by the Associated Press, about half of Americans said they would get vaccinated against COVID-19. While 56 percent of White respondents and 37 percent of Hispanics indicated they would get the vaccine, only 25 percent of the Black respondents said they would receive it - with 40 percent of saying no and 32 percent saying they were uncertain. Young people also demonstrated skepticism, being 27 percent less likely to get vaccinated than those age 60 or older. Overall, about 70 percent of respondents said they worry about the overall safety of being vaccinated due to the novelty of the virus, and how quickly a vaccine is being developed. Scientists generally point to an 80 to 90 percent vaccination figure in order to reach herd immunity.
As Alabama’s statewide mask ordinance enters its first full-week of implementation, many doctors, parents, sports fans, and business owners remain wary of what the future holds.