ORLANDO, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire)— Now that doses of COVID-19 vaccines are rolling off the assembly lines and heading for our hospitals, will you roll up your sleeve and get in line? A group of top public health experts are trying to answer that question by studying public perception of COVID risks and the vaccine.
Will you be getting the COVID-19 vaccines? A National Science Foundation study suggests that many Americans aren’t so accepting. In a six-month span, the likelihood of respondents getting the vaccine dropped significantly, from 54 percent in May to just 39 percent in October. Lindsay Neuberger is an expert in health politics and communications at UCF who was part of the new study.
“Part of the hesitancy with the vaccine is people don’t know when it’s going to come. They don’t know if they’re going to be able to get it,” explained Lindsay Neuberger, PhD, an associate professor at the University of Central Florida.
While about 60 percent believed it will be available for many Americans in spring of 2021, they had concerns about its safety, effectiveness, and availability.
“There’s a reason behind it. And now the thing is, how do we understand that and then use the knowledge that we have about how to build effective messages,” elaborated professor Neuberger.
Which sources of COVID information do Americans trust? Sixty-six percent of study participants said scientists. Trust in Dr. Anthony Fauci rose from 56 percent in May to 59 percent in October. Local school systems and local government fell in August and rebounded in October.
“If we have really trustworthy, credible sources that are available to people, I think that we will see a rebuilding of that trust over time,” said Professor Neuberger.
Professor Neuberger and fellow researchers have received additional NSF funding to look at vaccine perceptions following the election, and that study is continuing. A newly released survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation finds 71 percent of the public would probably get COVID-19 vaccines, up from 69 percent in September.
Contributors to this news report include: Cyndy McGrath, Executive Producer; Addlyn Teague, Field Producer; Roque Correa, Videographer & Editor.
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TOPIC: COVID VACCINE ACCEPTANCE: WHAT WILL IT TAKE?
REPORT: MB #4841
BACKGROUND: COVID-19 vaccines are designed to help our bodies develop immunity to the virus that causes COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2 without having the illness. With all types of vaccines, the body is left with a supply of “memory” T-lymphocytes and B-lymphocytes that will remember how to fight the virus in the future. Typically, it takes a few weeks for the body to produce T-lymphocytes and B-lymphocytes after vaccination. This means it is possible to be exposed to and infected with virus just before or after being vaccinated and still get sick because the vaccine did not have adequate time to develop protection. The three main types of vaccines are mRNA, Protein subunit, and Vector. MRNA contains material from SARS-CoV-2 that gives our cells instructions on how to make a unique fighter protein that will recognize and fight COVID, after creating proteins, they destroy the genetic material from the vaccine. Protein subunit includes harmless proteins from SARS-CoV-2 that allows the body to recognize proteins that don’t belong in the future. Vector contains a weakened version of a live virus, different than SARS-CoV-2, that has genetic material of SARS-CoV-2 inserted in its viral vector that gives our cells instructions to create proteins that can recognize and fight COVID in the future.
Pfizer-BioNTech: One of the CDC authorized and recommended COVID vaccines produced by Pfizer-BioNTech is a mRNA vaccine that instructs our cells to make proteins and trigger an immune response. The body’s immune response includes making antibodies and protection from infection if the activated virus enters the system. This vaccine consists of two shots 21 days apart in the muscle of the upper arm. The official CDC recommendation is that all persons over the age of 16, with no previous severe reactions to any ingredient in the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, should be vaccinated.
NEW TECHNOLOGY: A panel of researchers surveyed individuals on risk perceptions and behaviors during the COVID-19 pandemic across three time points, May/June, August, and October 2020. They found the public acceptance of a vaccine went down approaching the end of the year starting at 54 percent in May and then dropping to 39 percent in October. As far as sources of information, only 58 percent of people said that they trusted scientists, around 30 percent trusted pharmaceuticals and as little as 13 to 19 percent trusted the government. Now, these researchers are advising public policy makers by developing a series of technical reports to summarize key findings to provide context and essential data with insights as to how individuals assess risk to tailor messages that will be effective.
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