A new poll to measure people’s trust in a potential Covid-19 vaccine asked respondents whether they would be more likely to take it if select celebrities and sports stars gave it their stamp of approval.
“If each of the following people or groups encouraged Americans to receive the coronavirus vaccine, would you be more or less likely to get vaccinated or would it not have an impact on your decision?” the Politico/Morning Consult poll – which was conducted among a national sample of 1,991 people – asked.
Some names listed seemed suitable as they are either medical professionals, like Dr Anthony Fauci, or public leaders, like President Donald Trump, but also included were media mogul Oprah Winfrey, NBA star LeBron James, and NFL quarterback Tom Brady.
The responses to those names should come as little surprise, as people will likely need more than a celebrity endorsement to trust in a vaccine to a world-changing virus. Some, however, were willing to admit that they trust the aforementioned stars enough that they could be swayed.
Winfrey fared the best of the bunch, with 10 percent saying a recommendation from her would make them more likely to get the vaccine. Another 16 percent actually said it would make them less likely, though, and the remaining 61 percent said it would not affect them either way.
For James and Brady, eight and seven percent respectively said their recommendation would make them more likely – while 15 and 13 percent said it would make them less inclined.
Those results actually get worse when broken down by political affiliation. Those who support Trump are much less likely to take a vaccine promoted by celebrities, with almost a third saying they would skip the vaccine if it was recommended by Oprah, 26 percent saying the same about James, and 19 percent about Brady.
As much as respondents may want to wave off celebrities promoting an eventual vaccine, it’s a strategy Fauci has said will be used to “educate” people who are hesitant to get vaccinated.
“We have a program right now that’s going to be extensive in reaching out to the community,” he told CNN in June. “They may not like a government person in a suit like me telling them, even though I will tell them. They really need to see people that they can relate to in the community – sports figures, community heroes, people that they look up to.”
In other words: celebrities like Oprah Winfrey, LeBron James, and Tom Brady.
Fauci has said people’s refusal to get a vaccine will prevent the US from achieving herd immunity to Covid-19, and that the distrust some have for any potential vaccine will mean it will likely only be 70 or 75 percent effective against the virus.
The most trust people have, based on the poll, is in family, with almost half saying recommendations from loved ones would make them more likely to get vaccinated. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Fauci earned 43 percent in the poll. More than a fifth of Trump supporters, however, said Fauci’s promoting a vaccine would make them less likely to take it.
The president’s recommendation means little, as only 14 percent say his endorsement would encourage them to get the vaccine. Barack Obama and Joe Biden earned slightly more faith from respondents, but not much (24 and 20 percent respectively).
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