TUCSON, Ariz. — Most health experts say a COVID-19 vaccine is needed to rebound from this pandemic,but according to new poll, Arizonans are luke warm about taking a vaccine to prevent the coronavirus.
"Increasingly, I think the vaccine is the only hope for really achieving herd immunity," said Doctor Elizabeth Connick, Chief of Infectious Diseases at the University of Arizona.
Dr. Connick is talking about reaching herd immunity - when a high percentage of the community is immune to a disease through vaccination or prior illness.
For COVID-19, that might need to be as high as 70 percent of the population, but according to a new poll by OH Predictive Insights, that number may be difficult to achieve.
In a survey of 600 Arizona voters, just 38 percent say they would take a vaccine against COVID-19. The same amount, 38 percent, say they would not take the vaccine.
About 23-percent say they're unsure. So, 61-percent of those surveyed say they aren't ready to get the shot.
Several promising vaccines are in Phase 3 clinical trials right now. That includes Moderna's vaccine trial that I'm participating in here in Tucson.
"There are people who, no matter what, won't get a vaccine," said Dr. Jack McGettigan, who is running the trial at Quality of Life Medical & Research Center. "But I think the majority of us that look into the science and look at the risk versus benefit, we're all hearing about the potential downside of getting COVID, if they want to elevate that risk, and there's a vaccine, I certainly would encourage them to consider it."
The OH Predictive poll shows more than half of Arizonans, 54 percent, would take the vaccine if it's developed and produced in the United States. But over a quarter of those surveyed still would not take it, even if developed and produced in the U.S.
The OH Predictive poll also shows party affiliation plays a big part in Arizonans overall thoughts about the pandemic. 70 percent of Republicans are optimistic about the next 30 days, while just 20 percent of Democrats say they're optimistic the outbreak will get better.