As the development of the COVID-19 vaccine is tracked globally, it's easy to take for granted how many individuals will willingly vaccinate.
A joint poll by the Washington Post and ABC News shows 27% of respondents said they would not take the COVID-19 vaccine once made available. This data comes from a sampling of the general public, already a grim figure considering approximately 80% of a population would need to be vaccinated in order to benefit from herd immunity.
Bleaker still, a growing movement of vaccine deniers also known as "antivaxxers" have voiced their opposition to the future vaccine, often taking a violent tone.
The question remains, if this group really believes the COVID-19 vaccine is a ploy by Bill Gates to implant tracking chips in us, will they refuse the virus once it becomes available?
Back in April, US News ran a thorough survey across 493 U.S. adults to better understand the trend. For the general public, the results were consistent with the poll by the Washington Post and ABC News, and expectedly higher in individuals who self identified as "vaccine skeptics."
Nearly a quarter (23%) of respondents said that they would not [take the vaccine]...Additionally, and consistent with the view that even a global pandemic may not persuade anti-vaxxers to get vaccinated, we find that 62% of people who are skeptical of vaccines said that they will forego COVID-19 vaccination
We also asked respondents if they self-identified as anti-vaxxers, and nearly 16% said they did. For those that identified as anti-vaxxers, 44% said they would not vaccinate against COVID-19, compared to 19% of people who did not identify as anti-vaxxers.
— U.S. News
Antivaxxers have found themselves in a renaissance of misinformation broadcasting with the public's eye turned sharply towards the subject of vaccination. Antivaxxers on social media search out and and prey upon vilhomas (parents whose children have died) or those with sick children in the hopes their vulnerability will open their minds to antivaccine propaganda.
The results are devastating, as in the case earlier this year when one of the largest antivaxxer Facebook groups convinced a parent of a child with the flu to deny them of Tamiflu, instead convincing the parents to treat their child with herbal remedies and putting potatoes in his socks. He died soon after.
The hesitancy to vaccinate is an echo of a study from 11 years ago during the H1N1 epidemic where researchers wanted to know how many individuals would take a vaccine developed on an urgent path, similar to the pandemic today.
When respondents were asked, if they had to make a decision now would they be willing to take “a new, but not yet approved vaccine,” 63.5% indicated they would not take it...