A new poll shows one in 5 people would refuse a COVID-19 vaccine as companies race to create one


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  • A new AP-NORC poll published Wednesday revealed about one in five people would refuse a coronavirus vaccine, and only about half of Americans would get the vaccination, as scientists race to create one.
  • The data comes as the US reached a grim milestone of 100,000 deaths from the coronavirus.
  • "There's still a large amount of uncertainty around taking the vaccine," Caitlin Oppenheimer, senior vice president of Public Health at NORC, told AP. "There is a lot of opportunity to communicate with Americans about the value and the safety of a vaccine."
  • About seven in 10 people of those who said they would get the coronavirus vaccine said they believed life would not return to normal without one.
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A new poll published Wednesday revealed that about one in five people would refuse the COVID-19 vaccine as scientists race to create one.

The poll, conducted by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, also found that only about half of Americans would get the vaccine when it becomes available, and 31% are not yet sure if they would get one.

The poll surveyed 1,056 adults and was conducted from May 14 to May 18. The results were released as the US reached a grim milestone of 100,000 deaths from the coronavirus Wednesday, which causes the respiratory illness known as COVID-19.

"There's still a large amount of uncertainty around taking the vaccine," Caitlin Oppenheimer, senior vice president of Public Health at NORC, told AP. "There is a lot of opportunity to communicate with Americans about the value and the safety of a vaccine."

Melanie Dries, 56, from Colorado, told AP that she is not an anti-vaxxer but is concerned about getting a COVID-19 vaccine in the near feature, saying it "causes me to fear that it won't be widely tested as to side effects."

Dr. Francis Collins Director of the National Institutes of Health, told AP in a previous interview that he "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," he said, adding that "definitely the worst thing that could happen is if we rush through a vaccine that turns out to have significant side effects."

The Trump administration announced a vaccine distribution program, dubbed "Operation Warp Speed," aimed at having 300 million doses in stock by January. The Department of Health and Human Services also promised earlier this week to provide "up to $1.2 billion" in funds to a laboratory at Oxford University working to develop a vaccine, The New York Times reported.

"It's always better to under-promise and over-deliver," Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease expert at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, told The Associated Press. "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."

The AP-NORC poll showed that 20% of Americans believed that the timeline of "Operation Warp Speed" would be attainable, with a majority of respondents thinking that it is more likely a vaccine will be available next year.

About seven in 10 people of those who said they would get the coronavirus vaccine said they believed life would not return to normal without one, with top reasons for getting vaccinated including protecting themselves, their families, and the community.

"I'm definitely going to get it," Brandon Grimes, 35, from Austin, Texas, told AP. "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."

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