A vaccine against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is considered an essential strategy for ending transmission of the virus and getting social and economic lives steady. In an April 2020 survey conducted by Fisher and colleagues, of around a thousand adults representative of the U.S. population, found that only about 6 out of 10 respondents said “yes” when asked whether they will get vaccinated when a vaccine for coronavirus becomes available. Consistent with other similar surveys fielded later in 2020, about 1 out of 10 said “no,” and 3 out of 10 said, “not sure.”
Prior research on vaccine acceptance suggests that certain groups may be difficult to persuade for vaccination. Targeted messaging campaigns that seek to change attitudinal or belief-based antecedents of existing vaccine hesitancy have not shown much efficacy. This form of vaccine hesitancy makes the “not sure” group particularly susceptible to misinformation about potential vaccines, which is likely to increase as we get closer to approval and in the early months of rollout. Closing the intention to behavior gap for most U.S. residents who appear willing to get vaccinated is likely to have the most significant payoff for vaccine coverage, disease mitigation, and population health.