About two days after the 2020 U.S. president-elect was declared, another announcement came that put markets and minds at ease: Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine was showing 90% effective in preventing COVID-19 in clinical trials. With coronavirus cases reaching record highs day after day – and hospitalizations and deaths accelerating – a sigh of relief was heard around the country. Consider that 1 in 378 Americans tested positive for the virus in just one week.
More good news came Monday when Moderna announced early trials of its vaccine are showing 94.5% effectiveness.
But, health professionals are reminding the population there is no quick fix to solve this now nine-month long pandemic. Health officials repeat themselves day after day that the vaccine will only work if people get it, and if it’s taken right alongside the basic disease prevention measures recommended by the CDC: mask-wearing, hand-washing, limits to gatherings, and social distancing.
Basically, the message to the country in the wake of this news has been: don’t let your guard down now. The vaccine will take many months to distribute once approved, and many more to get to most non-high-risk members of the population.
But, the good news is that shortly after the announcement CivicScience data showed the propensity to get the eventual vaccine is – slowly but surely – rising. As of the week of November 8, 53% of U.S. adults indicate they would be inoculated with an eventual coronavirus vaccine. This is up five percentage points from late October. After many months of the percentage of people who would opt for the vaccine declining, it’s clear the Pfizer announcement, and perhaps the election, shifted things right away.
And, in terms of timing, there’s a bit of growth in the percentage of people who say they’d get the vaccine as soon as they could. Twenty-six percent of U.S. adults say they would get an FDA-approved coronavirus vaccine right away. This is a four-percentage point increase from just a few weeks ago in late October.
While Americans 55 and older show the most intent to get vaccinated right away, Gen Z (18- to 24-year-olds) are nipping at their heels. The 25 to 34 age group is the most likely to say they won’t get the vaccine, followed closely by their 35 and older counterparts.
In terms of COVID-19 job impact among those who were employed pre-pandemic, those who are out of work and not getting paid over-index in saying they’d get the vaccine right away. What’s puzzling, is those who are working as usual (so, not remotely) are the most likely to say they won’t get the vaccine at all.
Mask On or Off?
But what about other measures that are just as crucial to get us out of pandemic times, like mask-wearing? With something that is seen as a responsibility of public health by some and a political statement by others, the mask is a hot topic.
But the data show that the majority of U.S. adults are all for statewide mask mandates. Interestingly, the majority of the country, but not all states, are also currently under one, with Utah and Ohio just issuing their own mandates last week.
When crossing this with age, the numbers are startling. Younger people are much more likely to be anti-mask than older people. While this is good news for the country’s most vulnerable population, the fact that younger people are less likely to get behind wearing a mask is something to watch.
Overall, those who would be vaccinated at some juncture are more likely to support mandates to wear masks, while those who would not be vaccinated are much less likely to show such support. However, those who are not sure about the vaccine also show high levels of support for mask mandates. It’s nuanced.
A COVID-19 Vaccine for Minors
While the current trials underway in the U.S. are for an adult vaccine, a coronavirus vaccine for children will be crucial to safely reopen schools at some point, among getting back to other social norms.
When asking parents about their initial feelings on the matter, only 21% say they would have their children vaccinated right away, while many are hesitant.
Of these parents, there are varying levels of comfort in timing of getting the vaccine themselves. Those who would get it right away for their kids are more likely to get it right away themselves, but it’s more granular than that.
While we’re still a ways off from the everyday person having access to a vaccination for the coronavirus, it’s encouraging to see the likelihood to opt for the vaccine lift.
As the results of more clinical trials are released, and a new presidential administration gets underway, we’ll continue to track these crucial data points.