Coronavirus politics: More Democrats than Republicans prefer to get vaccinated

Washington D.C., June 3 — : A nation-wide survey in the United States has revealed that a more Democrats than Republicans would prefer to get themselves vaccinated to protect against the novel coronavirus if immunizations were free and available to everyone.

More than 8 in 10 Democrats said they would definitely or probably get vaccinated, compared with slightly fewer than 6 in 10 Republicans, according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll. Independents fall in between.

The poll also showed that Americans’ eagerness to get vaccinated is heavily tied to the depth of their fear of being infected with the potentially lethal virus. Overall, 63 per cent said they are very or somewhat worried that they or a member of their immediate family might catch the virus that causes COVID-19, while 35 per cent said they are less worried. But among those who are worried, 81 per cent say they are likely to get vaccinated, compared with 52 per cent of those who are not as worried.

The finding that 71 per cent of Americans are interested in getting a coronavirus vaccine emerges as President Donald Trump has established a goal for millions of doses to be available by the end of the year — even though such a vaccine does not yet exist. Many scientists have said such an ambitious time frame is unrealistic.

Still, researchers in the United States and other countries are racing to try to develop a safe and effective vaccine. If widely accessible, such a vaccine would help populations develop immunity against the highly contagious virus, which has killed 104,000 people in the country and caused profound economic damage as communities shut down to help slow its spread.

Two federal efforts are trained on a vaccine to protect against the coronavirus.

The National Institutes of Health last month launched a public-private collaboration called Accelerating Covid-19 Therapeutic Interventions and Vaccines, which includes pharmaceutical companies, government agencies and partners in Europe.

The White House announced Operation Warp Speed, led by a former head of vaccine development at the pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline and by the commander of U.S. Army Materiel Command, which manages supply chain and logistics for the Army.

The poll’s findings show that supporters of Trump’s Republican Party are less enthusiastic about embracing a future vaccine than supporters of the Democratic Party.

Among Republicans, 24 per cent hold this view. Of all those who say they definitely or probably will not get vaccinated, half say that is because they do not trust vaccines in general and nearly one-fourth say one is not necessary in this instance.

The poll, conducted over phone between May 25 to 28 among randomized samples of 1,001 adults, further suggested that age and race and ethnicity also play into attitudes toward a coronavirus vaccine.

The percentage saying they will “definitely” get a vaccine, if free and available, is highest among both young and older adults — 55 per cent of adults under age 30 and 51 per cent among those 65 and older.

Meanwhile, Hispanics are most interested in a vaccine, with 78 per cent saying they would be likely to get one, compared with 70 per cent of whites and 63 per cent of black Americans.