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Coronavirus live news: half of Americans would take vaccine, poll shows; second wave arrives in South Africa

Brazil reports highest cases since mid-August; Spain sees lowest cases since August; vaccine cargo could help ‘restart’ passenger flights

South Africa, the African country most affected by coronavirus, has entered a second wave of the pandemic, the health minister declared Wednesday.

“As it stands as a country we now meet that criteria,” Zweli Mkhize said in a statement, as the country registered nearly 7,000 new cases in the last 24-hour cycle.

A survey from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research shows about a quarter of US adults aren’t sure if they want to get vaccinated against the coronavirus. Roughly another quarter say they won’t.

Many on the fence have safety concerns and want to watch how the initial rollout fares — skepticism that could hinder the campaign against the scourge that has killed nearly 290,000 Americans. Experts estimate at least 70% of the US population needs to be vaccinated to achieve herd immunity, or the point at which enough people are protected that the virus can be held in check.

Early data suggests the two US frontrunners – one vaccine made by Pfizer and BioNTech and another by Moderna and the National Institutes of Health – offer strong protection. The Food and Drug Administration is poring over study results to be sure the shots are safe before deciding in the coming days whether to allow mass vaccinations, as Britain began doing with Pfizer’s shots on Tuesday.

Despite the hopeful news, feelings haven’t changed much from an AP-NORC poll in May, before it was clear a vaccine would pan out.

In the survey of 1,117 American adults conducted 3-7 December, about 3 in 10 said they are very or extremely confident that the first available vaccines will have been properly tested for safety and effectiveness. About an equal number said they are not confident. The rest fell somewhere in the middle.

Among those who don’t want to get vaccinated, about 3 in 10 said they aren’t concerned about getting seriously ill from the coronavirus, and around a quarter said the outbreak isn’t as serious as some people say.

About 7 in 10 of those who said they won’t get vaccinated are concerned about side effects. Pfizer and Moderna say testing has uncovered no serious ones so far. As with many vaccines, recipients may experience fever, fatigue or sore arms from the injection, signs the immune system is revving up.

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Read the original article at The Guardian

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