Vaccine Acceptance Rises As Americans Eye Covid Mutations: IBD/TIPP Poll

Nearly three-quarters of Americans either received a coronavirus vaccine or are waiting for one to become available to them, according to the latest IBD/TIPP poll. The poll comes as Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) joined vaccine stocks with an authorized Covid jab over the weekend.


A total of 74% either received a vaccine or plan to, the poll said, in a sign that acceptance is growing in coronavirus vaccines. The 74% figure is up from the 64% who said in February’s poll that they were willing to get a Covid shot when it becomes available. The news could prove to be a boon for vaccine stocks as they push for heavier distribution of their shots.

But less than two-thirds of people polled say they trust the Covid-19 vaccines. More than a quarter say they don’t plan to get vaccinated. Further, nearly seven in 10 Americans surveyed say they are worried mutations in the virus that causes Covid could impact the effectiveness of vaccines and treatments, according to the survey.

Simply put, Covid vaccine stocks continue to face a public relations hurdle.

Vaccine Stocks: Small Portion Inoculated

The coming Johnson & Johnson vaccine is a single-shot inoculation against the virus that causes Covid-19. U.S. health officials expect it to be easier to distribute than the one jointly developed by Pfizer (PFE) and BioNTech (BNTX), as well as a vaccine made by Moderna (MRNA). The two are double-shot regimens with stricter temperature requirements and shorter storage times.

Just 10% of Americans have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19, the survey said. A total of 18% have had one Covid shot.

The race is now on for vaccine stocks to bolster supply. Most states remain in the early stages of disseminating vaccines, starting with the elderly and health care workers.

People in urban settings are two times more likely to have received at least one shot — 40% vs. 19% of those surveyed living in rural locations. Men are also twice as likely to have received a vaccine with four in 10 reporting they’ve received at least one shot vs. just 20% of women surveyed.

J&J shares climbed nearly 1% in afternoon action on the stock market today. Pfizer also was up 1%. BioNTech gained 2% in recent action. And Moderna added 0.7%.

Vaccines And Income Disparity

Higher-income individuals also are more likely to have already started or been completely inoculated. More than four in 10 people with incomes of at least $75,000 a year report having received a vaccine. Those numbers decline with income levels. Just 17% of people making less than $30,000 annually say they’ve gotten a Covid vaccine.

Less helpful for vaccine stocks: 26% of people surveyed don’t plan to be vaccinated. People ages 18-24 are least likely to want a coronavirus vaccine, as nearly four in 10 don’t plan to become vaccinated. Women are also much less likely to seek out a shot — 32% say they don’t want an inoculation vs. 19% of men.

Johnson & Johnson plans to deliver 100 million doses to the U.S. in the first half of 2021. Pfizer hopes to make 2 billion doses in 2021. Vaccine stock Moderna recently boosted its projection to 700 million doses this year. Pfizer’s and Moderna’s numbers are for global distribution.

Will Covid Mutants Undo Vaccine Stocks?

Even though nearly three-fourths of those surveyed got or planned to get shots, only 64% say they’re confident in the safety and effectiveness of the coronavirus shots. A total of 28% aren’t confident. Less than 10% weren’t sure or preferred not to answer.

This comes amid the emergence of new mutations to the virus that causes Covid-19. So far, concerning mutations have been identified in the U.K., South Africa and Brazil. Reports also suggest there are new variants in California and New York.

Vaccine stocks Johnson & Johnson and Novavax (NVAX) have tested their coronavirus shots against mutated forms of the virus in clinical studies. The South Africa variant is the most concerning thus far. Novavax said its two-shot regimen was 60% effective against that mutation. J&J’s was 57% effective.

Pfizer and Moderna have run lab tests pitting the blood of vaccinated people against viral mutants. The South Africa variant resulted in 63% fewer antibodies vs. the original strain in Pfizer’s test. In Moderna’s study, there was a six-fold reduction in the level of antibodies resulting from the South Africa strain.

Meanwhile, vaccine stock AstraZeneca (AZN) was hurt after its Covid vaccine offered “minimal protection” against the South Africa variant. As a result, officials in South Africa halted the vaccine’s roll out.

Variants Are A Concern

But both vaccine stocks say those antibody levels could still be enough to offer some protection.

Still, 69% of people surveyed in the IBD/TIPP Poll say they are concerned mutations might undermine the effectiveness of vaccines and treatments. Roughly a quarter — 23% — were not concerned. Another 8% weren’t sure.

Moderna has already created an updated vaccine that targets the South Africa mutation. The company is testing that vaccine in different combinations with its original drug. Pfizer, on the other hand, is testing a third, lower dose of its original vaccine as a booster.

Follow Allison Gatlin on Twitter at @IBD_AGatlin.


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