Barely half of Long Island residents would get a COVID-19 vaccine

“When you hear public health officials saying we are moving at a pace that is unprecedented… there could be a concern, ‘Are we moving too fast?’”

Scientists develop a vaccine against the coronavirus disease in Saint Petersburg (photo credit: REUTERS)
Scientists develop a vaccine against the coronavirus disease in Saint Petersburg
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Despite the impact the coronavirus pandemic has had on health, the economy and education, barely over half of residents in Long Island, New York, would seek a vaccine should one be made available, according to a new nextLI survey, Newsday reported on Monday.
According to the study, only 53% of Long Islanders plan on getting vaccinated for COVID-19 should such an option exist. In addition, 16% said they would avoid getting vaccinated, while 34% were unsure.
Newsday reported that this lack of enthusiasm about a vaccine reflects the results of similar polls.
The results further elaborated that many respondents did not fully trust the vaccine efforts, as many believe they are developing too quickly for the vaccine, and disease itself, to be fully understood.
"It is certainly not unreasonable," to not commit to getting a vaccine that doesn't exist yet, explained Barun Mathema, assistant professor of epidemiology and infectious disease expert at Columbia University, according to Newsday.
“When you hear public health officials saying we are moving at a pace that is unprecedented… there could be a concern, ‘Are we moving too fast?’”
It would seem many Long Island residents share this view.
"It's so new, we don't know the effects of it," explained 66-year-old Hempstead resident LeRoy Greene to Newsday, adding that he doesn't trust US President Donald Trump's administration to be honest about vaccine development.
As the study showed, however, even those who were open to getting vaccinated were divided, with many expressing caution. Only 14% would be "among the first to get the vaccine," while 33% said they would only get vaccinated after others. Thirty-two percent would either wait for everyone to be vaccinated or simply be among the last to get it, while 22% were unsure, Newsday reported.
In addition, the survey also noted that older Long Islanders were more likely to try to get vaccinated once such an option was possible, with 66% of Long Islanders over 60 compared to 46% of adults under 40.
This, Mathema explained, “could be a perceived risk-benefit assessment,” as the elderly are more vulnerable to COVID-19.