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Feb. 10, 2021, 3:25 p.m. EST

A third of U.S. adults are skeptical of the COVID-19 vaccines, poll finds

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By Associated Press

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“I feel like I have plenty of time before I get a chance to get [the vaccine] anyway, to find out if there are bad side effects and whether it’s even worth getting it,” Walker said.

In interviews, some Americans expressed concerns about the revolutionary speed with which the vaccines were developed — less than a year.

“I feel like they rushed it,” Walker said.

That was echoed by Matt Helderman, 31, of Greer, S.C.

“I’d like to see more safety data,” said Helderman, a video editor and associate producer for a Christian TV program. He also said that he would like to see more clarity on whether the vaccine is effective against new variants.

Health officials are trying to counter concerns about the vaccine with science.

The latest evidence indicates that the two vaccines being used in the U.S. — Pfizer’s, developed with Germany’s BioNTech /zigman2/quotes/214419716/composite BNTX -2.14% /zigman2/quotes/222361179/delayed XE:22UA -0.55% , and Moderna’s /zigman2/quotes/205619834/composite MRNA +0.28% — are effective even against the variants, Fauci said.

Also, while the development of the vaccines was unusually fast, it was the culmination of many years of research. And the vaccines went through clinical trials involving thousands of people who were monitored for 60 days after their last dose. Studies of other vaccines have found that harmful side effects almost always materialize within 45 days.

“Safety certainly was not compromised, nor was scientific integrity compromised,” Fauci said. “Many have reason for skepticism. But I think that when you explain the facts and the data to them, you can win them over.”

The survey found that older Americans, who are more vulnerable to COVID-19, are especially likely to say they have received a shot or will probably or definitely get vaccinated. Four in 10 of those under 45 say they will probably or definitely not get a vaccine, compared with a quarter of those older.

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Black Americans appear less likely than white Americans to say they have received the shot or will definitely or probably get vaccinated, 57% versus 68%. Among Hispanic Americans, 65% say they have gotten or plan to get the vaccine.

Public health experts have long known that some Black Americans are distrustful of the medical establishment because of its history of abuses, including the infamous Tuskegee study, in which Black patients with syphilis were left untreated so that doctors could study the disease.

Americans without a college degree are more likely than college-educated ones to say they will definitely or probably not get vaccinated, 40% versus 17%. And Republicans are more likely than Democrats to say that, 44% versus 17%.

The AP-NORC poll of 1,055 adults was conducted Jan. 28-Feb. 1 using a sample drawn from NORC’s probability-based AmeriSpeak Panel, which is designed to be representative of the U.S. population. The margin of sampling error for all respondents is plus or minus 3.8 percentage points.

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