COVID-19 Vaccines Are on the Way — But Will People Get Them?

COVID-19 vaccines are on the way. But producing an effective vaccine is only half the battle. Health leaders have to consider whether people will actually take it.

A group of CUNY Graduate School of Public Health & health Policy researchers including senior scholar Kenneth Rabin, distinguished lecturer Scott Ratzan, and Professor Ayman El-Mohandes co-authored a study published in Nature about how likely the public is to accept a COVID-19 vaccine.

“It will be tragic if we develop safe and effective vaccines and people refuse to take them,” Ratzan said.

The researchers surveyed about 13,400 people in 19 countries in June 2020 and found that a majority of the participants (71%) were willing to take a COVID-19 vaccine. However, the study found that the public’s acceptance of such a vaccine depends on people’s trust of their government.

“Respondents reporting higher levels of trust in information from government sources were more likely to accept a vaccine and take their employer’s advice to do so,” the authors noted.

A trio of drugmakers have reported preliminary tests for vaccines that were at least 90% effective, according to The Associated Press. Although they are not yet ready to be widely distributed, the public has already began considering whether or not they’d take a “rushed” vaccine.

Now, the researchers say it’s up to leaders to put the public at ease.

“We need to develop a robust and sustained effort to address vaccine hesitancy and rebuild public confidence in the personal, family and community benefits of immunizations,” Ratzan added.

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Ayman El-Mohandes (Professor, Epidemiology and Biostatistics) | Profile 1
Scott Ratzan (Distinguished Lecturer, Epidemiology and Biostatistics) | Profile 1