preparing covid vaccine on pink surface

Four in Ten New Jersey Residents Wary of COVID-19 Vaccination

About 40% of New Jerseyans will “probably” or “definitely” not get vaccinated against COVID-19 despite surging caseloads across the nation, according to the latest Rutgers-Eagleton Poll. The percentage varied between 36% and 47% depending on how the question was deployed.

Among those who were reluctant to get vaccinated, 80% were worried about side effects; meanwhile, 82% said they needed more information about how the vaccine would work. Some expressed concern with price, while others felt they did not need to take the vaccine at all.

However, with or without a vaccine, many New Jerseyans thought the coronavirus had changed life for the foreseeable future: 42% said New Jersey would not return to normal for six to 12 months, while 30% believed it would take even longer.

Public Opinion Likely to Shift with Vaccines

On the heels of both Pfizer and Moderna announcing their vaccines showcasing effectiveness percentages in the 90% range during the first tests, the pollsters noted public opinion would likely shift on taking the vaccine.

“With the recent positive news from Pfizer and Moderna, it is likely that public opinion on immunization will continue to shift and evolve,” said Ashley Koning, assistant research professor and director of the Eagleton Center for Public Interest Polling (ECPIP) at Rutgers University–New Brunswick.

However, Koning warned that more people would need to take it in order for it to be effective.

“Right now, a large portion of New Jerseyans are still wary, which makes any future messaging encouraging vaccination that much more important,” she said.

Personal Experience

The pandemic continues to hit closer to home for resident of the Garden State.

Sixty-six percent of New Jerseyans say they know someone who has tested positive for
coronavirus, up a few points since the Rutgers-Eagleton Poll first asked this question in May.

A combined 71% are worried (30% “very,” 41% “somewhat”) that they or someone in their household will get sick from the coronavirus. That percentage is down from last Spring, when 41% said they were “very worried ” and 38% “somewhat worried.”

Rising Caseloads

With cases on the rise in advance of Thanksgiving, many public leaders were locking down their businesses across the nation. Gov. Phil Murphy recently instituted new restrictions in New Jersey on indoor and outdoor gatherings after previously mandating the closing of bar services, restaurants having to close at 10 p.m. and prohibiting interstate youth sports competition.

Nationally, CDC reported 151,855 new cases of COVID-19 across the U.S. on Nov. 17, leading to a total of about 11.1 million total infections. The agency tallied 762 new deaths related to the novel coronavirus on the date, for a total of 246,232.

The majority of new cases were coming from the Midwest, but New Jersey was seeing a spike, too. CDC reported an average of 39.8 cases per 100,000 population over the past seven days in the Garden State.

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