Infectious disease expert warns about the politicization of COVID-19 vaccines .

Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston

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A CBS News/YouGov poll released over Labor Day Weekend found that only 21% of voters would get a COVID-19 vaccine this year even if it were available at no cost, down from 32% in July. One takeaway isn’t that Americans are turning into anti-vaxxers, but that they fear a rushed vaccine: President Donald Trump has made it clear that he wants to see a vaccine developed soon, preferably before Election Day. And Dr. Rochelle Walensky, head of infectious diseases at Massachusetts General Hospital, discussed her fears of a vaccine being politicized when she was interviewed by CNN on Monday.

Walensky told CNN, “There is an enormous amount of vaccine hesitancy in this country at baseline. We know the flu vaccine, that has a long, long history….. of safety — generally every year, only about 45% of Americans who are eligible receive the flu vaccine.”

Walensky added that the politicization of a possible COVID-19 vaccine is worrying Americans. Seemingly referencing that CBS/YouGov poll, she noted that presently, only about one in five Americans would receive a COVID-19 vaccine this year if available.

“Given how critical this vaccine is going to be in our toolbox of tackling this disease,” Walensky told CNN, “I have real concerns about it becoming a political discussion and not a scientific one.”

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