As Covid-19 Cases Surge, More Americans Plan To Take Vaccine

Bruce Japsen

An illustration picture shows vials with Covid-19 Vaccine stickers attached and medical syringe with … [+] the US pharmaceutical company Pfizer and BioNTech German biotechnology company logos are seen in this creative photo. Pharmaceutical company Pfizer and BioNTech announced positive early results on its phase 3 study of Covid-19 vaccine candidate. Primary efficacy analysis demonstrates BNT162b2 to be 95% effective in preventing infection of the virus, as media reported on 18 November 2020. Pfizer Inc, in partnership with German company BioNTech SE, plans to supply 1.3 billion doses of the vaccine in 2021. Pictured on November 23, 2020 in Brussels, Belgium, 23/11/2020 ( Photo by Vincent Kalut / Photonews via Getty Images)

Photonews via Getty Images

U.S. interest in taking a vaccine against Covid-19 continues to rise, according to public opinion polls ahead of a major push by employers and drugstore chains to educate Americans on the vaccination rollout.

The news is good as Covid-19 vaccines made by Pfizer and Moderna have shown to be greater than 90% effective in late stage clinical trials as they near emergency use authorizations from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Given the effectiveness and safety of Covid-19 vaccines is far better than researchers expected, the worry of vaccine hesitancy may be slowly subsiding.

A Gallup poll last week showed 58% of Americans say they would get a Covid-19 vaccine, which is up from a “a low of 50% in September,” the pollster’s analysis showed. “The 42% of U.S. adults saying they would not get a vaccine is down from 50% in September, but still indicative of significant challenges ahead for public health and government officials in achieving mass public compliance with vaccine recommendations,” Gallup’s RJ Reinhart wrote in his analysis.

But employers are beginning to educate their workers about vaccines and are hearing anticipation is building from employees who want to be vaccinated once shots against the Covid-19 virus are available, employee benefit consultants say.

“Anecdotally, our U.S. health care clients relay tremendous interest in the vaccine and we hear that employees are generally expressing willingness to be vaccinated, if not already participating in trials conducted at many facilities,” says Gisele Norris, managing director and co-leader of Aon’s COVID-19 Task Force. “However, there are mixed views toward requiring employees to be vaccinated.”

Meanwhile, large drugstore chains have already begun marketing their ability to provide Covid-19 vaccines and also plan to eventually include public health education to ensure their customers know the safety and efficacy benefits of taking a vaccine.

Walgreens just last week sent an e-mail to customers saying they plan to expand access to vaccines through Walgreens “more than 9,000 stores in 2021.”

Walgreens communication to customers follows an e-mail rival CVS Health sent to customers earlier this month letting them know the U.S. “will make a supply of the Covid-19 vaccine available to CVS Health when authorized and available to administer in pharmacies nationwide,” CVS said. “We will offer it to the public through our 10,000 locations, following established vaccine prioritization guidelines.”

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is expected to issue emergency use authorizations for vaccines made by Pfizer and Moderna sometime next month, setting the stage for distribution to begin.

Studies of safety and effectiveness data of these vaccines as well as others in final-stage clinical trials will continue even after the emergency authorizations. And that could also help increase support among Americans for Covid-19 vaccines.

“A longer period of development and clinical testing may help to address three of the four most common reasons for hesitancy among those who are unwilling” to take them, Gallup’s analysis showed.

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