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Bit More Willing

The majority of Americans now say they would be willing to get a vaccine against SARS-CoV-2, a new Gallup poll has found.

In the poll — which was conducted in October before Pfizer and BioNTech released their trial results this week and before Moderna announced their promising initial clinical trial results — 58 percent of Americans said they would get a COVID-19 vaccine. That, Gallup notes, is up from 50 percent in a previous poll it conducted in September. 

In October, the Washington Post reported that the public's confidence in government scientists had been shaken and there were concerns that the public might not accept a COVID-19 vaccine. The National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins told the Post at the time it would be "a tragedy" if the public didn't accept a safe and effective vaccine.

Gallup notes that while fewer US adults now say they would not get a vaccine — 42 percent now versus 50 percent in September — the poll results still suggest public health officials will face significant challenges in convincing Americans to get the shot. It adds that the most common reason given for avoiding a vaccine is the rushed timeline.

Similarly, the CUNY School of Public Health and Health Policy's Lyndon Haviland writes at the Hill that trust in leaders and public health leaders needs to be restored. "A vaccine is worthless unless people are willing to take it. And people won't take the vaccine unless they have confidence in its safety and efficacy," he adds.