Americans' interest in getting a COVID vaccine is declining.
A new poll by STAT News and Harris show an 11% point decline in vaccine interest from August to October of this year. In October, they found 58% of Americans are interested in getting a vaccine compared to 69% in August.
"There's been an increased kind of politicization and polarization in information," says Robert Jekielek managing director of the Harris Poll.
Jekielek says one of the factors that may have changed public confidence is the FDA's emergency use authorization this summer, some people viewed this as political.
For example: President Trump championed hydroxychloroquine, the FDA approved it for emergency use and then later revoked that authorization after it was proven to be ineffective and possibly unsafe. Sewing more distrust. The FDA is, after all, the agency that approves vaccines.
When broken down by race, Black Americans saw the largest decline in vaccine confidence dropping 22%. Only 43% are interested in getting a COVID vaccine compared to 65% in August.
"Black Americans are much less trusting about information about COVID," says Jekielek. "There's more of like a historical tide of being more disenfranchised from the health care system. … Access to it. Care from it. ... whether it's cardiac or cancer."
Black Americans are twice as likely to die from COVID-19 compared to their White counterparts. And the pandemic magnifies the health disparities that already exist pre-COVID and the decades of health care distrust felt by Black Americans.
Jekielek says, "It's a really important kind of health care, public health issue. Right? So hopefully this you know, this data can help inform the conversation and really kind of drive action."
Jekielek says the FDA needs to start building trust if doctors want people to get vaccinated. Actions like getting more representation in clinical trials can help build that trust. Otherwise, this public health crisis will continue.