More than 60 percent of voters think the U.S. should fully test any coronavirus vaccine — even if that delays rolling it out and allows the virus to keep spreading in the meantime, according to a new POLITICO/Morning Consult poll.
Just 22 percent of respondents said the government should make a vaccine available as soon as possible, even if it had not been fully tested. Republicans (26 percent) were slightly more likely than Democrats (21 percent) to favor getting a vaccine out as quickly as possible.
President Donald Trump has repeatedly promised that a vaccine will be available by year’s end — raising fears among researchers and public health experts that his administration will rush to approve a shot without clear evidence that it is safe and effective.
“In the race for a highly sought-after COVID-19 vaccine, voters are not willing to sacrifice safety for expediency. Roughly two-thirds say the United States should prioritize fully testing any potential coronavirus vaccine, even if that means a delayed offering to the public and a continued spread of the virus,” said Kyle Dropp, co-founder and chief research officer at Morning Consult.
Nearly three-quarters of Republicans said they trust Trump more than Joe Biden, Democrats’ presumptive presidential candidate, to oversee vaccine development. But Biden’s support among Democrats (81 percent) was stronger than Trump’s support among Republicans (72 percent), and Biden drew a higher proportion of Republican voters (8 percent) than Trump did Democrats (4 percent).
Overall, 44 percent of poll respondents favored Biden to lead the vaccine push, versus 33 percent who chose Trump.
The poll also reveals a gap between Republicans’ and Democrats’ willingness to be vaccinated. While 82 percent of respondents overall said they would take a U.S.-made shot, 24 percent of Republicans and 9 percent of Democrats said they would refuse one.
The findings raise fresh questions about the success of U.S vaccination efforts if an effective vaccine emerges — which could translate into how quickly the country could return to some level of normalcy. It is not clear how much public attitudes about a vaccine could change if a shot becomes available.
Vaccines from the pharmaceutical companies Pfizer and Moderna began the final stage of clinical trials in the U.S. this week. Results that reveal whether those vaccines work are expected before the end of the year, the companies said. Two Chinese-made vaccines are also in end-stage trials overseas.
Poll respondents said they would be less likely to take a coronavirus vaccine that was made in China than one made in the U.S. Twenty-three percent said they would not take a China-made vaccine, compared to 17 percent who would turn down an American shot.
The largest group declining a China-made vaccine were those who viewed Trump “very favorably,” with 40 percent saying they would not take a vaccine made in China.
The poll did not find any major differences across ethnicities in respondents’ willingness to take a coronavirus vaccine, regardless of its origin.
Seventeen percent of white respondents, 16 percent of Hispanic respondents and 20 percent of Black respondents said they would not take a U.S. vaccine. Twenty-two percent of whites respondents, 17 percent of Hispanic respondents, and 27 percent of Black respondents said they would be unwilling to take a China-made shot.
The POLITICO/Morning Consult poll was conducted online from July 24 to 26 among a national sample of 1,997 registered voters. Results from the full survey have a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points.
Morning Consult is a global data intelligence company, delivering insights on what people think in real time by surveying tens of thousands across the globe every single day.