Vaccine development in the US driven by politics, Americans say

Graeme BruceBusiness Data Journalist
September 09, 2020, 10:00 AM UTC

Half of Americans say vaccine development is being shaped by political interests, not public health interests. The data follows news that US states were told to prepare to distribute a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as October. 

Half (50%) say vaccine development is driven by politics, just 14 percent of Americans say it’s driven exclusively by public health interest, a recent YouGov poll shows. Nearly one in five (19%) say development is being shaped equally by public health interest and political interests. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reportedly told 50 states to prepare for vaccine distribution as early as November 1, two days before election day.  

Most Democrats (61%) and a plurality of Republicans (34%) say the nation’s vaccine effort is mainly being shaped by politics rather than public health interests. 

Survey data shows Americans are skeptical a vaccine will be ready by late October. Roughly three in five (59%) of Americans say it's unlikely a vaccine will be ready by this point, while a quarter (26%) say it is likely. 

Republicans (41%) are nearly twice as likely than Democrats (21%) to say a vaccine is likely by late October. Following the reports about a possible October distribution, Slaoui said it's extremely unlikely, but not impossible. 

Methodology: The survey questions, “Do you think the timing of this vaccine development is being shaped more by public health interests or political interests?” and “The CDC has asked states to plan for potential vaccine distribution beginning in late October 2020. How likely, if at all, do you think it is that a vaccine will be ready by this point?” was asked of 5,935 US adults ages 18 and over. Interviews were conducted online September 3 – 4, 2020. Results are weighted to be nationally representative.    

Image: Getty