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Vaccination Prospects

Eakinomics: Vaccination Prospects

Gallup is reporting that “Americans’ willingness to be vaccinated against the coronavirus has dropped 11 percentage points, falling to 50% in late September.” This means that willingness to be vaccinated has fallen from about two-thirds in July to only one-half in late September. As Eakinomics has noted, the scientific accomplishment of vaccine development has been astonishing and it seems quite likely that there will be multiple vaccines widely available in 2021. The emerging issue is whether the U.S. public will take advantage of them.

The Gallup results show some interesting gender and political divides. First, “Until now, men and women had consistently expressed similar rates of willingness to be vaccinated, but women’s comfort level dropped more than men’s in the latest reading, so there is now a 12-point gap between them: 56% of men versus 44% of women say they would get it.” Second, “After two months of Democrats being more likely than Republicans to say they would be vaccinated, about half of all political party groups now say they would get the vaccine. This marks a new low among Democrats and independents, while Republicans’ interest in getting the vaccine has returned to the levels recorded in July, up from their low point in late August.”

It is hard to not conclude that key parts of the public have diminished faith in the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) vaccine approval process. In an effort to counter this, the FDA announced stricter criteria for granting an emergency use authorization. Manufacturers would have to follow participants in late-stage clinical trials for two months after receiving the final shot. This is intended to assure the public of the safety of the vaccine. In addition, the FDA will also require at least five cases of COVID-19 in the placebo group of a trial; this will enhance the ability to demonstrate the efficacy of the vaccines.

Time will tell regarding the scientific advance of the vaccines. But it will require a vigorous public education campaign to ensure that this accomplishment is translated into a significant advance in public health.

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Fact of the Day

To date, successful challenges to Trump Administration rules have amounted to blocking an estimated $1.8 billion in regulatory savings.