About 40% of North Carolina residents responding to an Elon University Poll said they’ll take a COVID-19 vaccine approved by the FDA, nearly an equal number said “it depends” and the other 20% said they’ll decline.

The survey of nearly 1,390 adult residents Dec. 4-6 found that those who plan to take the vaccine believe it’s a way to protect themselves and their loved ones and a pathway to normalcy.

Among those who said they won’t take it, some pointed to a lack of trust in the FDA, fear of potential side effects and a belief that taking the vaccine and wearing a mask infringe on their individual rights.

Some among the 39% who said “it depends” or “not sure” expressed concern about the approval process being rushed, that others might need the vaccine more than them or that the vaccine could cause health problems.

Nearly three-fourths of respondents agreed that vaccines could help end the pandemic, 56% agreed that vaccines will be effective in preventing COVID-19 and 37% said the vaccine could be more dangerous than the virus. More than two-thirds want to wait for others to get vaccinated first.

The Elon Poll gauged trust in key figures in the fight against COVID-19. Dr. Anthony Fauci, among the most visible leaders in the effort, was found to be the most trusted, with 58% of respondents saying he was very or somewhat trustworthy.

Thirty-eight% of respondents said President Donald Trump is very or somewhat trustworthy, while 49% said he is not at all trustworthy.

Gov. Roy Cooper and President-elect Joe Biden ranked similarly, with 52% saying Cooper was very or somewhat trustworthy and 51% saying this about Biden.

Fifty-six% agree with the statement that “the FDA is trustworthy when it comes to approving a COVID-19 vaccine” while 22% disagree. Similarly, 64% agree with the statement that “by the time I can get the vaccine, doctors will have had enough time to determine if the vaccine is safe” with 15% disagreeing.

Most respondents supported requiring COVID-19 vaccinations for employees of private companies and students at colleges, universities and K-12 schools.

Two-thirds of respondents personally know someone who had COVID-19, compared to 50% of those surveyed in October and 31% in June.

Forty-eight% of men and 33% of women said they planned to take the vaccine, with 36% of men and 42% of women saying they would not. Sixteen% of men and 25% of women said it depends.

Forty-three% of White respondents said they’ll take the vaccine compared to 27% of Black. Black respondents were more likely to say “it depends,” with 30% offering that response compared to 19% of White respondents. Forty-three% of Black and 39% of White respondents said they don’t plan to take it.

Democrats were more likely to say they’ll take the vaccine than Republications or those unaffiliated. People over 65 were more likely to say they will take the vaccine than those younger. Urban residents were mostly more likely to say they’ll take the vaccine than suburban or rural residents.

Seventy% of respondents said they believe vaccines could help end the pandemic, while 19% said they neither agree or disagree with the statement and 12% disagree. Only 56% said they agree that the vaccines will be effective in preventing the disease, with 31% saying they either agree or disagree and 13% saying they disagree.

More than two out of three residents appear wary of being the first in line to receive the vaccine. Asked to respond to the statement “I want to wait for other people to get vaccinated before me to see how it worked for them,” 68% said they agree while 15% said they disagree.

Respondents were nearly evenly divided when asked to respond to the statement “the vaccine might be more dangerous than COVID-19 itself,” with 34% saying they agree, 37% saying they disagree and the remaining 29% saying they neither agree nor disagree. One out of four agree with the statement “some individuals have tampered with the vaccine process for bad purposes” while 38% said they disagree and 37% said they neither agree nor disagree.

Forty-seven% said they disagree and 24% said they agree with the statement, “I won’t be able to afford a COVID-19 vaccine.”

The survey was conducted using an online opt-in sample marketplace. An explanation of the credibility and methodology of the survey are available in the full report.

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