A race is afoot in the U.S. between the task of vaccinating Americans quickly and the looming threat of new coronavirus variants, which are already in the country. The danger being if one isn’t done before the other, we could start seeing another COVID-19 case peak. And, even if people are vaccinated quickly, the vaccinations may not protect against the newer variants, hailing from the U.K., South Africa, and Brazil, as strongly as they do against the original U.S. strain. It’s all unknown.
The good news is that cases–while still high–are falling, as anticipated after the holiday season when spread was saturated. The other promising development is that quick vaccination is a pledge of newly sworn-in President Biden, but will it be fast enough?
According to CivicScience data, intent to get the vaccine is plateauing, so to speak. The percentage of people who say they will get it right away appears to have reached its highest point, but it is declining as more people start to get doses of the vaccine every week. However, there was a slight increase week over week in people who report they will not get the vaccine, a figure that has stayed consistently at about 13% until it reached 15% this week.
The most notable finding is people who have received at least one shot of the coronavirus vaccine is up to 12%, a group that has more than doubled since the beginning of January.
Concern about COVID-vaccine side effects has shifted upwards ever so slightly (by two points) since we last surveyed in the beginning of January, but these concerns still appear to be low when compared to the initial poll in early December when vaccines first started to be announced.
Another interesting shift in the data is vaccine location. While many states are distributing the vaccine through physician offices and pharmacies, some are starting to hold vaccine events at conference centers and stadiums, and likely will in the future as inoculation ramps up. We’re seeing a slight shift in where people expect to receive their vaccine once they are able to (‘other’).
In terms of preference of the vaccines authorized for emergency use by the F.D.A. so far, there is a slight increase in Americans reporting they are more favorable to Pfizer’s over the Moderna vaccine. However, most still don’t have a preference for which vaccine maker’s shot they receive. When new vaccines are approved by the FDA for use, CivicScience will throw them into the survey mix.
Meanwhile, among those who plan to get the vaccine, 28% say they have not gotten their first dose yet even though they are eligible. This sheds light on the country’s not-so-secret supply issues. Perhaps even more shocking to put this all in perspective: half of those who want the vaccine still aren’t eligible to receive it.
Beyond the Shot
Of course, the vaccine alone won’t end this. We’re still very much living in a pandemic, and will be for many months to come. CivicScience surveyed 2,400 American adults about what precautions they expect to have to continue in the immediate aftermath of receiving the vaccine themselves. Speaking just in terms of the science behind mask-wearing, distancing, and other coronavirus safety measures, the results of the survey look somewhat promising.
Nearly three-fourths (72%) of those surveyed indicated that they expect to continue to mask-up, and a slightly smaller figure (68%) say the same about social distancing and diligent hand-washing (65%). However, the flip-side of the coin in looking at this is: only 72% say they expect to continue to mask. What about the other 28%?
What’s more is 60% if respondents say they will continue to limit gatherings, and 51% say they will keep staying home more often than not.
Overall, time is of the essence in order to combat further spread of the virus by vaccinating the public. But will supply keep up with demand, and in time to win the current race against emerging variants? At the very least, CivicScience will continue tracking the vaccination status of Americans and report out on a regular cadence.