A high percentage of people are going to get the Covid-19 vaccine that is available to them, because they are going to be choosing between two clearly labeled doors. One door says “Look like you believe science has something to offer.” The other doors says, “Maybe you die!”
I have the impression that people who have been taken in by anti-vax thinking, but only to some degree, who are not acolytes of that cult, get the stick when push comes to shove. They think about their health, their children, and they make the right choice. Certainly, it does not go the other way. Add this to the fact that a) the most refusing population out there is the US population, and in the US the refusal (as well as the acceptance, by the way) of the vaccine is almost entirely political, and we can guess that much of the “no, no” really means “ok, whatever.”
Yet another factor is the reporting. Whenever a poll has an undecided middle, or a weak “yes” or “no” element, it is possible to report the poll in a biased matter, even if the poll itself isn’t biased. This is clearly what happens when we see “X% say nope” without mentioning that a number equal to a third or fourth of that said “I don’t know, whatever.”
Here are some data for three polls that address this topic.
An April 2020 survey in seven European countries, with 7,662 respondents showed that 81.1% of the population were indifferent or willing to be vaccinated. (73.9 were explicitly willing.)
A Pew Research Center poll in mid September of Americans compared May and September. This September poll was taken at the height of cynicism about the Trump regime’s handling of Coronavirus, just before Trump himself got the virus. In this poll, 49% of all respondents said “no” (to some degree) to the vaccine (“I don’t know” was not a choice in this survey), with 56% of Republicans preferring to not be vaccinated, and 42% of Democrats preferring not.
The May survey showed those numbers at 27% for the whole survey, and 34% and 21% for Republicans vs. Democrats, respectively.
The September poll is probably the one most cited by those who prefer to be alarmed, but it actually underscores the likelihood that people will get the the shot at much higher numbers. A waft from 27% to 49% over four months indicates that the pollsters are not sampling what the questions indicate they are sampling. There is a huge amount of elasticity in what people say. Also, the fact that this survey had no room for “I don’t really have an opinion” forced people into a category. Given the high degree of politicization of the disease, which mainly consists of many Republicans preferring to appear to be reject science (in order to make lefty big city elite academics cringe) or Democrats rejecting a vaccine they see likely to be yet another Jared Kushner scam, the best numbers, among these, in my opinion are optimistic. In May, before the politicization occurred to a great degree, 72% of Americans said yes to the disease, but only 11% felt strongly about no. That conforms with the other surveys.
A survey reported in late October and published in Nature, across 19 countries, showed that 82% were indifferent or preferred the shot (61.4% were willing, the rest indifferent). Of those who seemed not to want the shot, only 9.8% felt strongly that way.
My friend, scientist Roderiko Kampen, recently suggesting, while agreeing that resistance to the vaccine will diminish over time, to “never underestimate human stupidity. Nothing is stable or ‘normal’ now, every single day some butterfly may flap the global hurricane. Humanity has thoroughly outlived its stay and is now beginning to meet that cool adversary – i.e. my great friend – called reality.” I agree. There will be pockets of resistance that will prove troublesome, and lives will be taken and illness spread because of resistance to science. But, ultimately, most people are going to get the shot, and at some point, schools are going require Covid-19 vaccination alongside the already required vaccinations in order to attend.
Look, people endlessly complain about TSA, and they complain more about TSA and the equivilant agencies around the world, the modern security systems at airports, even more than they complained about the totally fake ineffective security that was prevalent before 9/11, especially in the US. But they still get on the plane with a some sense of security. Covid-19 is worse than terrorism, by the numbers. We are having, in the US, a 9/11 level event every single day as I write this. The vaccine is the way out of this plague. People are going to get vaccinated. I would even go one step further. Anti-vax will always be with us. It is an industry, and anti-anti-vax is also an industry. But a movement (or, really, scam) designed to hamper the fight against this pandemic will get weaker, not stronger, over the next year.