Poll: Americans want health care workers, elderly first get coronavirus vaccine

If the US is the first country to develop a coronavirus vaccine, most Americans do not want to share it immediately with the rest of the world – but they’s OK to put high-risk people on the front lines within the US to put, according to a new Harris interview shared exclusively with Axios.

Why it matters: When the first fax arrives, there will not be enough to go around. Experts say both of these levels of ration – distributing the available doses internationally, and then a risk-based system to decide who gets it first in each country – will be necessary.

Where it says: Dozens of potential faxes are under development. No product has yet been proven to work, and it is quite possible that even the apparent precursors will not be able to unpack.

  • It’s too early to assume that a vaccine is right around the corner, or that the first successful one would be a knockout punch when it comes.
  • But the drum of encouraging news has been slow enough that it’s ridiculous to start thinking about how to spread this first drug, every time it arrives.

By the figures: 69% of Harris survey respondents said they would support a priority system for spreading a vaccine in the US, while just 31% said they would prefer a first-come, first-served approach .

  • Support for a priority system was consistently high among men and women, Republicans and Democrats, and all income levels.
  • 73% said healthcare professionals should have priority access to a one-time vaccine, followed by seniors (71%), people with compromised immune systems (68%) and essential workers (60%).

Between the lines: This kind of structured, risk-based allocation would be very different from what most Americans are accustomed to, in a health care system that typically allocates resources based on patient pay.

  • If people are already comfortable with the idea of ​​waiting in line before accessing a vaccine, this may help to make this a very, very complex process.

Yes, but: Although most Americans are domesticated with a priority system, they are not internationally wild about the same kind of risk-based.

  • 66% of Americans said that if the U.S. develops the vaccine, it should only be made available abroad after all U.S. orders have been completed; just 34% said it should be made available directly abroad.

Three countries stand in front of grandpa in the fax race: The US, China and the UK No matter who comes first, they will not have enough available to vaccinate their entire populations, or anywhere near .

  • Experts say the “winning” country is likely to have some advantage when it comes to spreading the available doses, but if one country is able to save them all, the global pandemic could rage for years.

Americans are more skeptical of foreign-developed faxes: Overall, 69% said they are at least somewhat likely to take a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as it becomes available. But when asked if they would use a vaccine developed by another country, that number slipped to 51%.

Methodology: The Harris survey was conducted Aug. 14-16 among a representative sample of 1,967 American adults.