Americans of all political stripes are losing faith in health officials and are sick of pandemic politics, according to a new poll which found less than half the country would take a Covid-19 vaccine if rolled out before November.
Trust in the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has fallen 16 points on average, a poll conducted last week by the Kaiser Family Foundation has revealed. Published on Thursday, the survey’s results appear to show widespread fear of the virus is now gradually giving way to economic anxiety, and impatience with the bureaucratic incompetence and politicization many perceive to be snarling the approval of treatments.
Faith in the CDC cratered 30 points among Republicans, according to the poll – just 60 percent of party members now trust the agency. Among Democrats, the fall was less steep at 12 points, and just under three-quarters now have faith in its pronouncements.
Coronavirus czar Anthony Fauci remains the most trusted source on the virus for Americans, with 68 percent reporting at least a ‘fair’ amount of faith in his claims. However, fewer than half of Republicans trust him anymore, their support having dropped a shocking 29 points since April as the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases director has dropped hints about his disagreements with President Donald Trump.
A whopping 85 percent of Democrats are concerned political pressure will lead the Food and Drug Administration to sign off on an unsafe vaccine, echoing concerns voiced by Democratic vice-presidential candidate Kamala Harris in an interview last week. A majority of independents were also concerned, though only a little over a third of Republicans said they were worried about it.
Less than half of those surveyed said they would actually take a vaccine if it was offered before Election Day – with fewer Republicans saying they would take it than Democrats, despite Trump’s vocal cheerleading for the rapid-development jab. While the responses hint at growing opposition to what many believe will be a rushed-to-market shot with insufficient safety studies, it seems to be a moot point for most Americans: four out of five don’t believe there will be a vaccine widely available in the US before November.
A sizable minority of about 40 percent scolded the CDC and FDA for paying “too much attention” to politics, urging them to focus on evaluating Covid-19 treatments and vaccines based on their scientific and medical merit and leave partisan concerns out of it.
The poll measured a marked drop in the overall climate of fear that has held the nation in its grip since March, with just as many Americans believing “the worst is behind us” as those fearing “the worst is yet to come.” Accordingly, the economy has replaced the pandemic as the top issue for the Republican voters – though the pandemic remains number one for Democrats.
Kaiser’s press release included a light dose of mockery for the three-quarters of Republicans who supposedly held an outsized share of “misconceptions” about the virus. However, their definition of “misconceptions” might be considered controversial, given that some medical professionals also share those opinions, including that “hydroxychloroquine is an effective treatment for coronavirus.”
The CDC last week advised states to prepare for a Covid-19 vaccine rollout by November 1, raising eyebrows as no US- or UK-made vaccine is known to have reached anything approaching the approval threshold for public distribution. The document sent out to local authorities acknowledged “limited doses” would be available in November, with the supply set to increase “substantially” in 2021. Oxford University’s vaccine, produced by pharma giant AstraZeneca, recently paused its trials after a severe adverse reaction in a study participant.
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