In Brief

Quarter of Americans have ‘little or no interest’ in getting Covid-19 vaccine

New poll reveals ‘trust issue’ for Trump administration in battle against pandemic

Most of the world is desperately awaiting the emergence of a Covid-19 vaccine but not everybody is so keen, according to polling. 

Indeed, a quarter of Americans have “little or no interest” in getting vaccinated against the new coronavirus, a newly published Reuters/Ipsos poll found. 

Some respondents “voiced concern that the record pace at which vaccine candidates are being developed could compromise safety”, the news agency reports. 

Senior health advisors fear that Donald Trump’s name for the US vaccine development project, Operation Warp Speed, further “feeds into fears stoked by ‘antivaxers’ that the medicine will be rushed out and therefore potentially dangerous”, adds The Times.  

The results also reveals a “potential trust issue” for the Trump administration, which is “already under fire for its often contradictory safety guidance during the pandemic”, says Reuters.

Of more than 4,400 adults questioned for the poll, 36% said they would be even less willing to take a vaccine if their president claimed the drug was safe, compared with only 14% who would be more interested.

The poll was conducted in the week up to 19 May - during which time Trump revealed that he is taking daily doses of hydroxychloroquine to ward off the coronavirus, despite health officials repeatedly warning that the malaria drug may be unsafe.

Less than two-thirds of respondents said they were “very” or “somewhat” interested in a vaccine, while 14% of respondents said they were “not at all” keen - much to the surprise of some health experts, as the US coronavirus death toll continues to climb.

William Schaffner, an infectious disease and vaccine expert at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, said the level of public support for a vaccine “a little lower than I thought it would be with all the attention to Covid-19”.

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Earlier this month, USA Today reported that a separate survey of more than 6,300 Americans found that almost a third believed a vaccine for coronavirus already exists, but is being withheld from the public.

The paper said that the findings reveal a “mistrust in institutions” at just the time citizens need to “rely on government, health and other leaders amid the outbreak”.

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