North Carolina’s uphill battle to build vaccine trust

An Elon University poll found less than half of North Carolinians would get a coronavirus vaccine.
Published: Dec. 10, 2020 at 7:06 PM EST
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JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - North Carolina is staring down a major fight to build trust with a new COVID-19 vaccine.

A new Elon University poll released Thursday morning found just 40% of people in the state would get a vaccine, with 39% of people in the state saying they need more information.

“Many North Carolinians are saying ‘we’re not so sure about us taking it right at this point,’” said Jason Husser, director of the Elon University poll. “They thought the vaccine had been developed too quickly. And they wanted to see more long-term data about people that took it several months ago.”

Elon University Poll.
Elon University Poll.(Elon University)

The poll is highlighting the uphill battle the state will face as the vaccine becomes widely available.

“It’s not enough,” said Dr. Arin Piramzadian, a traveling emergency room doctor and Chief Medical Officer of StarMed. “For us to have herd immunity from vaccinations, the goal is actually 80%.”

It’s a long way from the vaccine solving the public health crisis.

An FDA committee approved emergency authorization for the Pfizer vaccine Thursday. It now heads to the full FDA. Its trial has raised a few eyebrows over allergic reactions in at least four participants.

“Time is probably the most important factor to lead people to become less skeptical of the vaccine,” said Husser.

Health professionals claim there is more than enough time to gain the trust of the public. By the time the shot is more widely available by the summer, frontline hospital workers should have already received the vaccine.

“We understand the how mRNAs actually work,” said Piramzadian. “So, I’m not worried. I think come March and April timeframe, when everyone else is having access to the vaccines, people are going to feel more comfortable with it.”

Health officials expect the FDA to grant emergency authorization of the Pfizer vaccine. They also expect the agency to recommend people with severe allergies not take the vaccine until they properly investigate the reactions to the shot.

You can read the full Elon University poll here.

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