Sixty-nine per cent of Americans do not trust the president to assure them about the efficacy and safety of a coronavirus vaccine (AFP via Getty Images)
Despite president Donald Trump’s claims that a coronavirus vaccine will soon be available, new polling shows that a majority of Americans have no confidence in him to confirm that it is safe.
An ABC News/Ipsos poll released on Sunday shows that 69 per cent of Americans do not have confidence in the president vouching for the effectiveness of a vaccine — 53 per cent saying they have no confidence at all in him doing so.
Conversely, just nine per cent of Americans have a great deal of confidence in the president to confirm the effectiveness of a vaccine, and just 18 per cent have “a good amount” of confidence.
The president has insisted that a vaccine is close to being approved. On Friday he tempered some of his recent comments saying that there will be enough doses for every American by April.
Health experts, including Robert Redfield, director of the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, have spoken of a timeline that makes a vaccine widely available in summer or autumn of 2021.
The president said he thought Mr Redfield had made “a mistake” and was “confused”.
Currently, 72 per cent of Americans are concerned that they, or someone they know, will be infected with Covid-19 — down from 77 per cent in July.
The poll also shows a decrease in the number of Americans that say they are likely to get inoculated by “a safe and effective coronavirus vaccine”. Since May there has been a 10 point fall from 74 per cent to 64 per cent.
This is due almost entirely to more Republicans saying that they are unlikely to get a vaccine. In May 75 per cent said that they would, and that figure has now dropped to 50 per cent. 80 per cent of Democrats say they will get the vaccine.
Neither candidate does especially well in polling as to whether they are trusted to confirm any vaccine’s effectiveness. Democrat Joe Biden performs better than the president with 41 per cent showing confidence in him, but this is against 52 per cent lacking confidence in him.
Respondents were asked which candidate they considered “more honest and trustworthy” no matter who they planned to vote for. Biden led with 58 per cent to Trump’s 39 per cent.
Understandably, Americans are more trusting of public health officials and institutions, but even then, recent accusations of government interference in data and reporting may have hit levels of confidence.
Dr Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and the CDC have the confidence of 62 per cent and 61 per cent of respondents.
The Food and Drug Administration (57 per cent), Department of Health and Human Services (53 per cent), and World Health Organisation (53 per cent) also all fared well in the poll.
Drug companies performed less well, with 52 per cent saying that they do not have confidence in them.
Polling was conducted between 18-19 September from a nationally representative probability sample of 528 adults.
There have been almost 6.8 million confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the US to date and 200,000 officially recorded deaths.
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