(News12 Brooklyn) – Hundreds of thousands of people stand in line each week to get the COVID-19 vaccine or are struggling to book an appointment.
But for all those who are eager to get the shot, there are still thousands who are reluctant or outright refuse. And this has medical experts concerned.
“It’s hard to imagine that people are willing to risk – both for themselves and for other people – the chance that there’s going to be a major severe illness,” says Dr. Barron Lerner, professor at the Grossman School of Medicine at NYC.
Lerner says that health officials have done a lot to make sure that the public knows that the vaccine is safe.
“I think people have gone out of their way to indicate how these vaccines are overwhelmingly safe, that the scientific process has been good. But there’s a very strong anti-vaccination, skepticism among the population,” he says.
A Monmouth University poll found that 50% of people surveyed said that they planned to get the vaccine as soon as they were allowed. Nineteen percent said that they would let others go first to see how things went and 24% said that they would likely never get the COVID-19 shot.
The poll also found that politics seems to play the biggest factor when it comes to people’s attitudes about the vaccine. The group most likely to plan to get the vaccine were Democrats at 72%. The group least likely to get the vaccine were Republicans at 39%.
Polls at first showed that there was a large divide along racial lines toward the attitude over the vaccine, but that is narrowing. The current poll found that 58% of white Americans plan to get the vaccine, compared to 52% of Americans of color.
“The appropriate skepticism we’re seeing in communities of color, I think, is rooted in different places, then, you know, anti-vaccination movements,” says University Hospital president and CEO Dr. Shereef Elnahal.
“A lot of that is just a lack of trust that, frankly, is understandable against the medical establishment that has mistreated people of color for so long.”