A Coronavirus Vaccine is Coming: Will You Get It?
A new study finds that both vaccine characteristics and personal factors dictate acceptance rates.
So… are you going to get it? The COVID vaccine, I mean. It has been said many times before, but it bears repeating. The fact that we are even talking about mass vaccination for a disease that was unknown a year ago is mind-blowing. Vaccine development takes decades. But through really unprecedented work here we are.
Of course, the speed that we got here has led to some uncertainty. Recent surveys suggest that somewhere between 50 to 70% of US adults said they will get a COVID vaccine when it is developed.
That may not be enough to squelch the pandemic. The vaunted “herd immunity” threshold for SARS-CoV-2 suggests we’ll need about 70% of the population to be vaccinated, or, you know, become infected naturally. But importantly, characteristics of the vaccine may affect uptake. It turns out this matters a lot, as this study, appearing in JAMA Network Open shows us.
Researchers from Cornell surveyed 2000 adults representative of the US population. They used a powerful technique called conjoint analysis to get their results. The short version, instead of asking them if they would be more or less likely to accept a vaccine given certain conditions, they were presented with two different theoretical vaccine profiles — like this — and had to choose which they would take, or neither.
The elements in the profiles — the effectiveness, the side effect rate, the provenance, the endorsements, were varied randomly. Because of that, they could triangulate how any one factor might move the needle on vaccine acceptance.
The results were fascinating.