U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams said during a stop in Texas Monday that a vaccine against COVID-19 could be ready as soon as the end of this year or early 2021. But he isn’t saying when Americans might be able to get it. (Sept. 28)

AP Domestic

A recent survey found Americans’ willingness to get a COVID-19 vaccine may be determined by its medical effectiveness as well as politics.

According to the survey of nearly 2,000 adults, published Tuesday in JAMA Network Open awaiting peer review, people were most swayed by vaccine efficacy, adverse effects and duration of protection. 

Researchers at Cornell University found Americans were about 16% more likely to get a COVID-19 vaccine it was 90% effective instead of 50%. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has said it will approve any vaccine at least 50% effective at preventing infection or reducing disease severity, roughly the same efficacy as the annual flu shot.

Americans were about 7% more likely to get the vaccine if incidence of major adverse effects was 1 in 1 million as opposed to 1 in 10,000, and about 5% were more likely to get the vaccine if its duration of protection was five years instead of one.

“We want something that has a very low rate of side effects and as high efficacy as possible,” said Aubree Gordon, associate professor at University of Michigan School of Public Health.

Experts are optimistic these survey results are an indicator more information and education can overcome vaccine hesitancy.

“A lot of hesitancy is due to legitimate concerns,” said Dr. Christopher Gill, infectious disease specialist and associate professor of global health at Boston University School of Public Health. “If that’s true, then we have an opportunity here because that kind of data can be shown in a transparent way.”

A ‘Herculean’ effort: States finalize their COVID-19 vaccine distribution plans

However, there’s also a political component.

According to the survey, Americans would be more willing to get the vaccine if endorsed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or the World Health Organization than if it was endorsed by any of the candidates running for president.  

The probability of choosing a vaccine was lowest when it was recommended by President Donald Trump, but people were only about 2% more likely to get a vaccine when it was endorsed by former Vice President Joe Biden.


Harris says she would absolutely take a vaccine if it was recommended by public health professionals, but not if only President Trump says to.


“Unfortunately, COVID-19 has been incredibly politicized and … it bleeds over to the vaccine,” Gordon said. 

Additionally, respondents were about 3% less likely to get the vaccine it was approved through an emergency use authorization by the FDA than if it went through the full regulatory process.

The news comes as polls suggest vaccine fears are growing. According to one from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, only 46% of Americans want a COVID-19