With more than 6 million COVID-19 infections and more than 183,000 deaths, the United States is the most affected country in the world. A vaccine is seen as a source of hope to contain the virus, reduce mortality, and accelerate the return to normality that leads to employment, income, prosperity, and emotional balance.
Unfortunately the vaccine is being manipulated for political-electoral purposes.
President Donald Trump has assured that he is optimistic that the vaccine will be ready – coincidentally – around the November 3 elections, despite the fact that none of the biomedical projects in the United States have completed the clinical testing phase.
Although promising biomedical efforts in other countries, such as Mexico and Argentina, point in a direction of possible availability of a vaccine against COVID-19 next year, the reality is that they have not been approved either and their potential impact at a massive level is unknown.
Even assuming that the vaccine is available toward the beginning of 2021, data has emerged that African-American and Latinx minorities would be reluctant to try the vaccine. This is despite the fact that it has clear therapeutic benefits, either by avoiding contagion or extreme symptoms.
According to a survey released in May by The Associated Press-NORC, only 37% of Hispanics will get the vaccine once it’s available, another 37% are unsure and 23% are convinced they will not. The figures are even more daunting for the African-American community: only 25% would get the vaccine and 40% would not under any circumstance.
Though the numbers are better among non-Hispanic whites, with 56% saying they would apply the vaccine, compared to 16% who would not, it’s clear that the issue of vaccination can become a greater problem for public health. This is unless it’s possible to make large segments of the American population aware that getting vaccinated is in their personal benefit and in the benefit of all.
The issue of COVID-19 vaccination is ideological since it’s more likely for people who identify as Democrats to apply the vaccine (62%), compared to those who identify as Republicans (43%). Only 31% of those who define themselves as Independent will apply the vaccine.
The figures are striking because there is an overwhelming proportion of the United States population, almost 80%, that considers the vaccine as an important factor for the reopening of productive activities and businesses.
This is why a massive public awareness campaign emphasizing the vital importance and safety of vaccination is urgent. It’s essential and one of the best strategies to stop contagions, deaths, and suffering and return to the normality that we long for.