It’s amazing what the politicization of a pandemic can do. Back in May, as the Coronavirus took its toll on New York, 55% of Americans said they would get a vaccinated for COVID-19 if and when a vaccine becomes available. Today, that number has shrunk to just 32%. Less than one third of Americans would take a Coronavirus vaccine if it were made available today. Another 33% of Americans would not take it, while the last 34% isn’t sure.
What does it say about a country where more people reject or are skeptical of the potentially life saving Coronavirus vaccine than those who would take it? The answer lies in America’s leadership and past indiscretions.
After all, you have a president who asked about the injection of disinfectant to combat Covid-19 in a country where they used to spray their citizens with DDT. It’s easy to see where the lack of trust comes from.
Despite Trump’s own “Operation Warp Speed” vaccine program, the people that worship Trump the most are the same people that are the least likely to take the Coronavirus vaccine. An astounding 39 percent of Trump supporters say they will never get vaccinated. 20 percent of Americans overall have said the same.
At the same time, Operation Warp Speed is leaving many Democrats nervous. They see Trump as someone who does everything as a political calculation and are worried an untested, unreliable vaccine will hit the market before the November Election.
To that end, 70 percent of democrats were keen on taking a vaccine back in May. Today that number has plummeted to 42 percent. At the same time, only 6 percent of Biden supporters said they would never take a Coronavirus vaccine.
Last week, Trump predicted that “we’re going to have a vaccine very soon, maybe even before a very special date. You know what date I’m talking about.” Privately, Trump campaign advisers have called a pre-election vaccine “the holy grail.”
Because Trump is who he is, he is turning what rightfully could have been seen as a revolutionary breakthrough, into an untrustworthy, politically motivated stunt. A majority of Americans say Trump wants “a vaccine to be released quickly” for political reasons, and who can blame them.
If a Coronavirus vaccine is developed by election day, it would be done four times faster than ever before. While it seems impossible, more resources have been devoted to developing one than ever before, so anything is possible.
None of that seems to matter, however. With so much distrust in Trump and the government in general, nobody would take it. Herd immunity would still be impossible to achieve, the immunocompromised would still be at great risk, Covid-19 would continue to spread and kill countless people while America’s precious economy would continue to suffer.
Right now, should a vaccine arrive, the majority of Americans have said they are content on watching what happens to those who take it. As if the side effects, should there be any, would be noticeable in the days that followed.
All this points to a pretty dark period in American history where fear of the government trumps public health. Without that trust, there will be no return to normal regardless of who sits in the White House. The United States is looking like it’s screwed.