Numerous researchers and drug makers around the world have already joined the race to develop an effective COVID-19 vaccine. But not all people are excited for the results of the global effort.
A new study shows that “anti-vaxxers” have already decided to refuse the vaccine for the novel coronavirus. The move could potentially jeopardize the recovery of the U.S. from the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Kristin Lunz Trujillo, a Ph.D. candidate at University of Minnesota, and Matt Motta, an assistant professor at Oklahoma State University.
The country needs 50 percent to 70 percent of the population to develop immunity to COVID-19 to mark an end to the outbreak. However, estimates show that one-fifth to two-fifths of citizens still question the safety of vaccines.
“If these estimates are correct, that could mean that nearly twice as many Americans would need to elect to receive a COVID-19 vaccine than those who currently opt to be vaccinated against seasonal influenza,” Trujillo and Motta said in an article posted on the Conversation. “Although most Americans do plan to get vaccinated, noncompliance rates may be high enough to pose a threat to collective immunity.”
The two experts have been studying vaccine resistance. They said many anti-vaccine websites have already started spreading misinformation about the COVID-19 vaccine.
Some people claimed the vaccine has existed for years and that governments have been delaying public consumption. In a “demographically representative survey,” Trujillo and Motta said many adults in the U.S. already have the idea against the coronavirus vaccine.
They asked nearly 500 individuals whether they would be willing to get vaccinated against COVID-19 amid the pandemic. Results showed 62 percent of the anti-vaxxer respondents would refuse the vaccination even amid the pandemic.
However, 15 percent of people who support vaccines also said they would not take the one for COVID-19. But a small number of those who have criticized vaccination said the pandemic has changed their minds and they would consider taking the coronavirus vaccine.
“We believe that these findings, although preliminary, suggest that many people who hold anti-vaccine beliefs may jeopardize the effectiveness of a COVID-19 vaccine once it’s available, due to issues of noncompliance,” Trujillo and Motta said. “Furthermore, it appears that anti-vaccine sentiment is at least as widespread as it was before the pandemic began.”