BYU Study: Will Americans be willing to take a COVID-19 vaccine?

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PROVO, Utah (ABC4 News) — If a COVID-19 vaccine became available before the end of the year, would you take it?

A new study conducted by Brigham Young University, BYU, looked at what factors are impacting people’s willingness to take a COVID-19 vaccine if it were to become available.

The study found a lot of work needs to be done to convince those hesitant to get the vaccine. But, concerns remain about side effects, sufficient vaccine testing, and vaccine effectiveness.

According to an article published in the journal Vaccines, 68% of respondents were supportive of being vaccinated for COVID-19.

“Messages promoting the COVID-19 vaccine need to alleviate the concerns of those who are already vaccine-hesitant,” said senior study author Brian Poole, a professor of microbiology and molecular biology at BYU. “Vaccine hesitancy is growing and the World Health Organization has already deemed it one of the top threats to global health.”

The study concluded there are two factors that strongly predicted attitudes toward getting a COVID-19 vaccine. The two factors were listed as follows:

  • How people feel about vaccines in general: If people are generally pro-vaccine, they are generally pro COVID-19 vaccine.
  • How much of a challenge people believe the pandemic is for America: Respondents who said the pandemic was a severe problem for America were much more likely to want to be vaccinated for COVID-19.

BYU says the study concluded that people felt plenty of time needs to be taken to address the concerns, both long and short term side effects the vaccine could cause.

“It is critical that we understand the potential barriers to vaccine uptake prior to the release of a COVID vaccine,” said study coauthor Jamie Jensen, BYU professor of biology. “By understanding these barriers, we can design publicity strategies that will speak directly to the potential issues and hopefully get out ahead of any public dissent. With a vaccine being the most powerful weapon we have to end this global pandemic, the knowledge from this study is absolutely critical.”

***BYU undergraduate Kendall Pogue was the first author of the study. Additional BYU undergraduate and graduate students served as co-authors, as did professors Jamie Jensen and Bradford Berges.

Read the full study.

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