CALIFORNIA — Now that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has officially cleared the first vaccine for the prevention of coronavirus disease COVID-19, many people are anxiously awaiting the rollout of the Pfizer product. Though California will start with some 327,000 doses being shipped to the state in the first wave— millions are expected to eventually receive it.
States and municipalities across the nation have spent the past few weeks lining up their logistical ducks to be able to get doses of the vaccine into the arms of residents who need and want them the most.
Based on an informal survey of Patch readers in California, more than 52 percent of your neighbors said they’d be among those wanting the vaccine as soon as possible. Another 27 percent said they’d also like the vaccine, “but only after it’s been in use long enough to make sure it’s safe and effective.”
Since it was first posted Tuesday, 3,012 California Patch readers responded to our online survey.While not a scientific poll, the survey presents a broad idea of public sentiment regarding the vaccine.
Most respondents are generally trusting of vaccines, with over 85 percent saying they believe in vaccinations and most of those readers saying they keep their own vaccinations up to date.
That was about in line with the percentage of people who have gotten or plan to get their flu vaccine this year — about 75 percent. About 3 percent of those surveyed said they aren’t yet sure if they’ll get the flu shot.
However, a smaller percentage of those surveyed were completely on board with the coronavirus vaccine. Some 52.5 percent said they would be rolling up their sleeves as soon as it becomes available. Another 27.1 percent said they’d accept the medicine after giving it some time.
But 16.3 percent responded they had no intention to get the coronavirus vaccine at all.
Reasons for not wanting it varied.
“I am an American citizen and I support President Trump and the TRUTH,” one reader wrote. “The puppeteers of media manipulation and false deceptive and intentional news should be tried and sent to jail. Covid is a flu and healthy people don’t need a vaccine. I’m a healthy American citizen.”
Another said they don’t trust those advising the community to take the vaccine:
“The fact that the very ‘experts’ who are advising us about vaccines and other aspects of the coronavirus response are industry insiders who own stocks in pharmaceutical companies and patents on vaccines (multiple NIH scientists own shared patents on coronavirus vaccines) makes everything they advise suspect,” one person said.
“I do not think these are ‘expert’ scientists but rather, ‘expert’ businessmen…”
Some readers said they don’t want the vaccine due to potential side effects. Pfizer notes that some possible side effects of their vaccine include: tiredness, headache, muscle pain, chills, joint pain, fever, difficulty breathing, swelling of your face and throat, a fast heartbeat and/or a bad rash all over your body.
“Get the vaccines out there — let those who want to be guinea pigs take them and see what the side effects are and if they work at all,” another reader said. “We, the majority of people, will then decide if / when we choose to take a covid vaccine.”
However, plenty of Patch readers noted that they would indeed take the vaccine– once they are medically advised to personally do so, like this person:
“I plan on getting the vaccine when my primary doctor advises me to do so. I trust her. I do have some fear — fear of the unknown. I believe I will have to wait until spring and that will give me enough time to see how the doctors and nurses are doing with their vaccines and I think I will feel better about it by that time. I am high risk and I want to be with my grandchildren and hug them and really connect with them and it hurts me to not be able to do that. The vaccine will allow me to live my life again, freely — it will be worth it.”
“Risk of ill [e]ffects from taking the vaccine is worth the reward of solving the pandemic problem,” another said.
Operation Warp Speed
While California is in the thick of this latest phase of the pandemic, many still have not moved past the anger and frustration that saw battle lines drawn between neighbors since the spring and ahead of the election.
For some, the Trump administration’s involvement in Operation Warp Speed caused them to take a more (15.2 percent) or less (38.3percent) favorable view of the safety and effectiveness of the vaccines.
But, most of you put politics aside for this one.
Of those who responded to our survey, 46.5 percent said the president’s involvement in getting the vaccine to market so quickly made them “neither more nor less confident” in its the safety and effectiveness.
In fact, although over 30 percent of those who responded believed “the process was rushed,” 48 percent of readers held up the success of Operation Warp Speed as “a great example of how science and government can work together for the public good.”
The remaining 21.4 percent said they were of a different opinion altogether.
Though much remains to be seen about how and when Californians will get their dose of the vaccine once it’s available, Gov. Gavin Newsom continues to update residents on its safety.
“Our Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup has reviewed the federal process of the Pfizer #COVID19 vaccine,” he tweeted Sunday. “These best in nation experts agreed it is safe and effective. Now — we wait for the 327,600 doses to arrive shortly.”
Our Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup is made up of world class experts from California who unanimously confirmed the Pfizer vaccine safe for public use. They’ve met 5 times – twice in the last week – to review its safety & efficacy.
If you missed the opportunity to take our survey, weigh in below.
This article originally appeared on the Across California Patch