Helene Ohran made up her mind to get the COVID-19 vaccine before it existed. Carole Folz hesitated at first — she was skeptical, and some members of her family still are. Both women received their second shots Thursday afternoon.
"I think everyone should get it,” Ohran said. “I want to live. I think we're very lucky.”
They’re in the majority, according to a new national poll conducted in January by New Jersey's Monmouth University. About 75% of the poll's 809 respondents said they planned to get the vaccine at some point, and 50% said they wanted it as soon as possible.
Only 24% of respondents said they would never get the vaccine if they could avoid it.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, chief medical adviser to President Joe Biden, has estimated similar numbers could be enough to achieve “herd immunity,” a situation in which a virus cannot circulate because so many members of its target population are immune to infection.
Fauci suggests that 70-85% of the United States population would need to be vaccinated against COVID-19 for herd immunity to become a viable possibility. Monmouth’s predicted 75% vaccine-acceptance rate falls within that range.
Mike Samet, who works for Hamilton County Public Health, said he can’t give a hard estimate of how many people in the county want the vaccine. It’s a lot, and far more than his office can reach with current supply challenges.
"If I use the unscientific phone calls here, the people definitely want vaccine,” he said.
He added he believed skepticism will drop as the county’s vaccination campaign continues and people with worries about the vaccine see others receiving it without problems.
"As we get further and further into this vaccination initiative, I think people will see that it's a safe vaccine and that will start to come down a little bit,” he said.