In yet another sign of the politicization of the coronavirus pandemic, just 50% of Americans are now willing to get an FDA-approved coronavirus vaccine after weeks of President Trump’s aggressive predictions on when one will be available, according to the latest Gallup poll, an 11-point fall from the previous month, with more Republicans now comfortable getting vaccinated alongside a decreasing share of Democrats and independents.
Asked whether they would agree to be vaccinated if an FDA-approved Covid-19 vaccine was available now at no cost, just 53% of Democrats and 49% of Republicans said yes.
For Democrats, this is a remarkable 25-point drop from the previous month, while Republicans’ confidence in a vaccine rose 12 points.
President Trump has repeatedly claimed a Covid-19 vaccine could be ready before the November 3 election, a timeline that contradicts FDA procedures and the expectations of government health experts.
The poll also shows a gender disparity in willingness to be vaccinated: 56% of men versus 44% of women were willing to be vaccinated.
Parents of minors are also more willing to be vaccinated than those without children under eighteen, with the poll showing 52% and 44% respectively.
Despite a reduced willingness to be vaccinated, the poll shows that a new high of 26% of Americans are inclined to wait until a vaccine until resuming their normal daily activities, while 27% would be happy to do so now.
President Trump’s coronavirus vaccine timeline — repeatedly pushing for just before the November 3 election — is uncomfortably at odds with advice from government health experts and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) procedures. The president’s insistence has, at times, seen the White House pitted against the FDA whose regulations are, after all, intended and designed to keep Americans safe. By chipping away at these procedures, Trump has also chipped away at public trust in them.
Bill Gates said he worries that the FDA, despite being one of the world’s premier public health authorities, cannot be trusted when it comes to a Covid-19 vaccine. He said the president’s pressuring of public health officials to make exaggerated or optimistic statements means the organisation loses a “lot of credibility.”