Poll: Americans Worry COVID-19 Vaccine Approval Is Politicized

67 percent say they would get vaccinated as soon as an inoculation becomes available.


According to new survey by the Harris Poll and the invaluable health news website STAT, a majority of Americans are concerned that the White House might pressure the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) into prematurely approving a COVID-19 vaccine to boost the president's chances of winning the election.

"Seventy-eight percent of Americans worry the Covid-19 vaccine approval process is being driven more by politics than science," report the pollsters. "The response was largely bipartisan, with 72% of Republicans and 82% of Democrats expressing such worries." The poll was conducted August 25–27 and surveyed 2,067 people.

It's not hard to determine what sorts of background noise were feeding those concerns. On August 22, for example, President Donald Trump tagged FDA chief Stephen Hahn in a not-so-subtle tweet: "The deep state, or whoever, over at the FDA is making it very difficult for drug companies to get people in order to test the vaccines and therapeutics. Obviously, they are hoping to delay the answer until after November 3rd. Must focus on speed, and saving lives!"

Who does the public trust to provide accurate information about the development of a COVID-19 vaccine? Just 46 percent trust the president and the White House. The press is held in similarly low esteem, garnering the trust of only 47 percent of respondents. Confidence in the accuracy of social media is even lower, at only 29 percent.

Despite these misgivings, the poll reports that 68 percent of respondents said that they believe the FDA would only approve a vaccine that is safe. In addition, 67 percent said they would get vaccinated as soon as an inoculation becomes available. Indeed, 62 percent said that they are very or somewhat likely to get a COVID-19 vaccine that becomes available before the election.

NEXT: Congress Would Like the CDC To Ruin Halloween

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  1. I worry Americans believe there can be a covid vaccine.

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    2. Why couldn’t there be a covid vaccine? Don’t you believe in progress?

      1. The covid vaccine already exists. Big Drug keeps it hidden along with the cure for cancer and the 30 cent pill that cures diabetes with one dose.

        1. and it’s based off of hydroxychloroquine with a wee bit of zinc

          1. You forgot azithromycin. Luddite.

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      2. Because SARS and other coronaviruses have been around for decades and have never had a successful vaccine?
        Because COVID-19 comes from SARS-CoV-2?

        1. But SARS version 1 was only scary for a year then pretty much went away, so no mega millions prize was waiting at the finish line for that vaccine and Big Pharma chased $$$ on offer elsewhere.

        2. How many companies have been working on a SARS (SARS-CoV-1) vaccine? Considering there hasn’t been a reported case of the disease since 2003 I would wager not many

        3. SARS was easier to deal with because people didn’t become contagious until AFTER they showed symptoms. Then they could be isolated and prevent the spread. The other coronaviruses cause the common cold. Who’s going to spend money developing a vaccine for that?

          Also, I believe that at least one of the companies currently testing a potential COVID-19 vaccine had started working on a SARS vaccine, but then put in on the shelf when it got under control. It was repurposed for COVID-19.

      3. There could be a vaccine. It’s certainly possible. But I don’t think it is a good working assumption that there will be one that is safe and effective in the short term. This epidemic is going to end the old fashioned way, I’m pretty sure.

        1. It’s already over Zeb.

      4. The same reason there is no universal flu vaccine dummy. Or do you actually think your flu vaccine works every year? It is at best a guess.

        1. The reason there is no universal flu vaccine is because there are dozens of viruses and strains that cause the flu. The “guess” is which strain will be dominant in a given year.

          How many viruses cause CoVid-19? Just the one.

          1. Nope, there are at least four major variants of SARS-CoV-19 that tend to track by geography. However, overall that virus does seem to be genetically more stable than influenza.

            The other major reason why covid-19 is likely to stay around is that the immune response to coronavirus and influenza tend to fade relatively quickly and don’t offer sustained protection, unlike, say measles which is one and done.

      5. “Don’t you believe in progress?”

        Totes libertarian

      6. Not impossible, but also not very likely – there has not to date been any successful single-stranded RNA virus vaccine created.

    3. It appears there will be.

      The US government has chosen three vaccine candidates to fund for Phase 3 trials under Operation Warp Speed: Moderna’s mRNA-1273, The University of Oxford and AstraZeneca’s AZD1222, and Pfizer and BioNTech’s BNT162. Members of ACTIV have suggested developing safe controlled human infection models (CHIMs) for human trials could take 1-2 years. A sponsor would need to provide data from placebo-controlled trials indicating their vaccine is at least 50% effective against COVID-19 in order to be authorized for use, according to FDA guidance issued and effective 30 June.

      Chances are very good one or more of the vaccines in phase three will be proven safe and effective enough.

      1. If these mRNA vaccines really work, that is fantastic news for potential new cold and flu vaccines, and maybe even, eventually, vaccines against some forms of cancer.

        1. That is an excellent point, Chipper. The Covid vaccine may or may not be worthless, but the research to create it, and develop it for large-scale manufacturing, likely will have lots of beneficial places it can be used.

      2. in 1 to 2 years when nobody will need it.

        1. vaccine approvals usually take 4 years.

          1. in 4 years when really nobody will need it.

            1. and the Social Security funding problem will have gone away by then too

        2. IT won’t be one to two years. It will be before the end of the fall. And even if this thing fades, you still will need it because they have people so panicked over it.

          1. They might (although I doubt it) have something to inject into peoples’ arms by this fall, but you’d be a fool to take it until safety and efficacy are MUCH better tested…say six months to a year and a half a million people or more.

          2. My god it’s gonna be tough on you if Trump loses.

            To be fair, he did a terrible job presiding over a pandemic.

    4. I don’t get it. We’ve been at the flu for 40 years and it’s basically 20%-50% effectiveness.

      We never could figure out a coronavirus.

      What ARE the odds it’s NOT a dud?

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  2. My vote will not be decided on the presence or absence of a vaccine.
    It will be decided by which party platform advocates for the least intrusion on my individual freedoms.

    1. So you are voting for Jo Jorgensen. Good for you!

      1. It’s not enough to passively hate yourself, eunuch, you must actively end your life

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  4. Vaccines are for pussy-ass, diaper-wearing, Biden-voting, Hillary-supporting enemies of the state!

    Stand with the MANLY MEN!

    No masks! No vaccines! No pussies!

    MAGA 2020!

    1. Vaccines are for yokel clingers who trust Trump the liar!

      Stand with the RESISTANCE!

      Masks! Lockdowns! No Trump-Vaccine!

      BIDEN 2020!

    2. Put the bottle down again. Or are you hacked currently?

  5. “Just 46 percent trust the president and the White House. The press is held in similarly low esteem, garnering the trust of only 47 percent of respondents. Confidence in the accuracy of social media is even lower, at only 29 percent.”

    Well duh, just use all three methods to distribute information and you get 122 percent trust from the public. Do I have to think of everything?

  6. What a stupid article about a stupid survey. Asking if a vaccine is “safe” without defining what safe means. That’s just stupid.

    There is no such thing as perfect safety. You start taking risks as soon as you get out of bed in the morning. You take different risks if you decide not to.

    – Any vaccine is going to have some level of side effects. What level of side effects are acceptable to still call the vaccine “safe”?
    – Any level of testing to determine the likelihood of those side effects will have some margin of error. What level of testing is acceptable to still call the test reliable enough to call the vaccine “safe”?
    – Side effects must be balanced against the value the vaccine provides – it’s efficacy. How effective does the vaccine have to be to justify its given level of safety?
    – Like the testing for side effects, the testing for efficacy will also have margins of error. How reliable must those tests be?

    Any survey asking about opinions of safety without defining what “safe” means in context is just pandering to fears and preconceptions.

    1. Pandering? In other words, giving the people what they want.

    2. And all of these is why no vaccine should ever be mandated, because the government should not be defining my risk tolerance for me.

  7. I work in the medical industry. The idea that the FDA is savvy enough or crafty enough to delay a vaccine for political purposes is just mind boggling to me. The FDA is the most crusty and fossilized TLAs ever to exist in Washington D.C.

    That they are accelerating the approval process is itself a miracle, the idea that they’re immediately rubber stamping approvals because of partisanship is fucking stupid.

    1. Here’s the way I look at it. I know there are several vaccine candidates in Phase 3 right now (the last phase). Phase 3 is a huge trial, at least 10,000 people, probably more. And most of the vaccine candidates need two doses, a month apart. Then once they get the two doses, they go out into the world and see if they get the virus. There is no way to get thru the Phase 3 trial, collate all the information and produce a vaccine by Election Day. That’s why if there is a vaccine before Election Day, it would have to be rushed before it was ready. It’s happened before. Google “1976 swine flu vaccine” and you’ll see.

      1. How on earth are they ever going to catch the virus if everyone is wearing masks and staying 6 feet away?
        I can hear it now: “It’s a total runaway success”!

  8. Well that 67% is in luck. They can fly to Russia and get vaccinated this week. If they want to be part of a giant medical test.

  9. Considering Trump gives a damn about no one else but himself, that seems to be a sound take from the American public surprisingly.

  10. I’m not sanguine about taking a vaccine that was rushed through development and testing, even before I consider the political issues.

  11. Serious question: Why must the vaccine be at least 50% effective to be approved? If there were a “safe” vaccine that was, say, 15% effective couldn’t that be construed as better than nothing?

    1. For what level of safety?

      To keep the math simple, let’s assume we’re talking about a disease that will kill .1% of the population. That is, one in 1000 will catch and die from thes disease. Also to keep things simple, let’s assume that all negative outcomes end in death. Get sick? Die. Side effect from the vaccine? Die. No partials.

      If the vaccine is 99% “safe”, then it hurts 1% of the people who get it. That’s 10 times as many as the disease will kill so even it it’s 100% effective, it would be a really bad idea to take the vaccine.

      So what if the vaccine is 99.9% “safe”? Then it will kill exactly as many people as the disease. Still a bad idea even if the vaccine is perfectly effective.

      Let’s change the scenario. The disease kills 1% of the population. Now your 99.9% “safe” vaccine looks like a good idea, right? The vaccine will kill one in every 1000 but the disease will kill ten in every 1000. Maybe. Now we need to know how effective the vaccine is at stopping the disease deaths before we can make our decision.

      If the vaccine is 50% effective, the disease will still kill 5 in every 1000 – plus the one in every 1000 that the vaccine kills. So we’re saving a net 4 in every 1000. Take the vaccine.

      If the vaccine is only 10% effective, the disease will kill 9 in every thousand – plus the 1 in every 1000 that the vaccine kills. Net savings = nothing. The vaccine takes as many lives as it saves.

      The actual ratios are much more complicated and not nearly as easily-known as this example suggests. At best, real testing gives us ranges of effectiveness and safety. But that’s the general idea. And it boils down to a general rule of thumb that a vaccine has to be at least 50% effective before the odds of its benefits outweigh the odds of the vaccine’s own risks.

      1. Check out Debbie Downer over here.

    2. Hell no. The benefits have to outweigh the risks – vaccines are drugs, not mothers’ milk.

  12. One party may be pushing a vaccine to make it look good before the election while another party may be slowing a vaccine to make it look bad for the election. Which party should I trust neither.

    1. Considering the entire world is working on a vaccine, the latter seems unlikely.

  13. And how is Mr. Bailey helping matters? Because I see his articles tending toward politicizing the damned disease. Quite the science reporter….meaning political science, I guess.

  14. Well gosh darn…when we have non-medical trained governors saying that vaccines will be forced upon us, that only proves they are not adequately tested. When there will be absolutely NO consequences to Big Pharma when the vaccines murder people, it sure is political because Congress has failed to protect the citizens against these poisons. Contrary to popular belief, drugs cure absolutely NOTHING. It’s as big a scam as the fake pandemic and fake global warming.

    1. I’m afraid I’m on board with this now.

      Quebec officials went off on a ‘behave or else’ rant last night.

      We still hover around 140 cases and a couple of deaths.

      I’m sorry but there’s a scam in there somewhere. Or they’re that fucken stupid leading them to act with malice.

      In the process, the clowns unwittingly showed the masks are USELESS. But they still demand it. Today I walked around Montreal waiting for my daughter who was having a dental procedure done.

      Outside, most people are maskless but there are enough in them. I can see this government mandating use outside if there are spikes. I can feel it. I observed a guy in an electric car in a mask while a young chap next to him was in a face shield and mask. I noticed One woman coming towards me in a mask on the sidewalk. So I kept right and there was ample space in case she panicked about social distance. Rather than keep left, she decided to walk around me to my right by walking on Sherbrooke blvd with high traffic. Seem she calculated it was safer to jump onto a street than dare be mauled by my maskless asymptomatic ass.

      The other day I was jogging on a path. Next to it there’s a wide sidewalk. I was heading north and woman coming south. As we approached she, I kid you not, shoved her face into her t-shirt.

      Yes, cunt. That ‘Dominican Republic’ cotton t-shirt is gonna protect you. That’s how a virus works. It jumps like a flea.

      The magnificent macabre irrational mental breakdown of it all.

      Not a hysteria. Nope. No siree. No emotional and psychological scars will remain. No way.

      I have little confidence in any public official. All they do is pump up the volume of fear. Save a couple, not a single one has impressed me. All punchable sissies.

      For now, they’ve sufficiently scared people about the fall/winter so we’re screwed for a couple more months. But I pray people wake up.

  15. Well, considering public officials including medical bureaucrats have acted like political hacks and have been inconsistent and continue to push lockdowns and dubious mask mandates, yeh, I’d say the skepticism is richly earned and deserved. And not necessarily crazy either. Bunch of jerks.

    For years Alex Jones was in the nether-regions of political discourse warning that mandatory vaccines were coming. Now it seems the pandemic has possibly given some legs to that notion. For example, Virginia’s health commissioner public stated he’d make it mandatory.

    Meanwhile, Mass. through the Gov.’s decree without public hearings mandated the flu shot for kids. Out of nowhere. What the heck does that have to do with Covid-19? I can see this slowly growing if people don’t once and for all stop eating grass and wearing their masks in the car.

    So before you all jump on someone about Bill Gates, I would pay closer attention or else….Gates will micro-chip you.

    Evil little shit.


    My bet.

    The vaccine may not be necessary. This virus is going to weaken to the point of it being another strain of the common cold.

    Billions will be lost. If this happens I will celebrate pharma and governments losing the gamble. Hard.

    Anti-viral drugs. More expensive but makes more sense.

    Public mistrust is well placed here.

  16. Since Trump has already pushed several false cures for COVID-19 he would certainly have no scruples about pushing a vaccine that is not well tested if he can announce it in time to benefit his election campaign.

    Anyone who considers taking a new vaccine should make an effort to look at the science behind it.

  17. Reason magazine supported jailing every American at home.
    Reason magazine supported cuomo and trump.

  18. It is politicized. There is a science behind it.
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