A new poll finds about one in three Americans say they definitely or probably won’t get the COVID-19 vaccine. One News Now spoke to a medical expert who says she understands the concerns – and to a doctor who says he’s not surprised to hear those findings.

The poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found that many respondents “expressed doubts about the vaccine’s safety and effectiveness” – and that “resistance runs higher among younger people, people without college degrees, black Americans and Republicans.”

Twila Brase is a registered nurse and president/co-founder of Citizens’ Council for Health Freedom.

I don’t think it’s a surprise that people are worried about the vaccine if they’re really thinking about how it happened and how it is not even yet approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA),” says Brase. “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) came out with a study that found that 40% of staffers in nursing homes are choosing not to get the vaccine.”

The Associated Press also covered that issue, saying long-term care workers were skeptical the shots work and don’t think viruses spread easily from them to the people they care for at this time.

Meanwhile, Surgo Ventures, a non-profit focusing on solving health and social problems, polled 2,500 health care workers in late December and found 15% refused to take the vaccine. The reason? Insufficient evidence showing the treatments are effective.

“There’s a lot of different health care workers who have chosen not to get the vaccine,” Brase continues. “If you’re thinking about this, if you see how quickly the research was done and how little is known about the long-term effects, then there is valid reason not to just rush into getting the vaccine.”

Medical experts maintain the vaccines in the U.S. are safe and people should seriously consider getting vaccinated as a way of combating the spread of COVID-19. Politicians, another career field where jobs are on the line if the vaccines do not work, have said as much. Still, Internet rumors abound as to whether Bill Gates and other financiers are secretly trying to curb the population or track people with technology allegedly inside the vaccine.

So why does Brase have concerns? “As an organization we believe that people can make their own choices. So, whoever wants to take the vaccine, take the vaccine – but this has nothing to do with Bill Gates or nanorobots or anything like that,” she responds. “I think the concerns about the vaccine are just general, basic concerns.”

For example, Brase says the paperwork provided when a person gets a vaccine says the FDA has not approved this vaccine.

It is not an FDA-approved vaccine – and it’s not FDA-approved because it has not gone through the rigorous testing and clinical reviews that FDA requires,” Brase explains. “It’s been done really quickly, the trials and the research were done more quickly than it’s ever been done before, we don’t know what the long-term effects are, and there have been some stories of negative results or adverse events, including some unexplained deaths that are under investigation. So, there is legitimate cause for concern.”

Brase adds that doctors – including Anthony Fauci, chief medical adviser to President joe Biden – have stated the vaccine will not prevent a person from getting COVID.

“It will reduce the symptoms,” Brase adds. “I think sometimes when people learn that, they wonder: ‘Why, do I really want to have this vaccine when I’m not even going to be kept from getting the disease?’ And so this is another reason.”

Similar, but different concerns

A physician with Christian Medical & Dental Associations (CMDA) isn’t surprised to hear the findings that one in three Americans definitely or probably will not get the COVID-19 vaccine.

“We have had many different inquiries from our members who have told us as family physicians or other primary care providers that they are getting a lot of questions and inquiries from their patients and have reached out to us at the home office to kind of give them advice on how to approach this,” adds Dr. Jeffrey Barrows, DO, MA (Ethics), senior vice president of bioethics and public policy for CMDA. “So, it is a very common problem unfortunately – and I think a lot of people out there are mainly concerned about safety.”

Like Brase, Barrows points out “this has all happened very quickly.”

“The vaccines have been rolled out in a matter of months when normally it takes many years to do that,” he continues. “They’re using very new technology. I won’t say brand new because even the mRNA vaccines that are out there that are approved right now from Moderna and from Pfizer-BioNTech … were actually in testing with several other viruses prior to the COVID-19 outbreak. But they’re new technologies and all of that has people very concerned about the safety.”

One News Now asked if it’s safer for individuals to go without a vaccine and take their chances with COVID, or get the vaccine and take their chances that that will indeed lessen the symptoms as hoped.

“I’m a very strong proponent of getting the vaccine,” answers Barrows. “In fact, I’ve had one injection of the Moderna vaccine myself and I’m going to get my second injection in about a week.”

Barrows adds that, even with younger people, the long-term effects from COVID include fatigue, heart effectiveness, and the ability of the heart to pump.

“So, even though the mortality is not very high with the virus, there are these long-term health consequences that they might run into – so I really feel like the best approach is to get the vaccine,” Barrows advises. “I’m also a little bit more concerned as these new variants begin to roll out about the fact that they’re more easily spread; and one of them, the UK variant, appears to have a little bit higher mortality rate.”

As a way to counter inaccurate or outdated information on COVID-19, Barrows recommends some specific online resources.

“I like the government websites: the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website, and the Johns Hopkins Covid-19 Vaccine website where they are following the whole pandemic worldwide,” Barrows shares.

“I know there are a lot of people who are scared to death that the government is behind a conspiracy, but I do not believe it. I think the best data you can get is from the CDC [website], where they are keeping track of any and all of the adverse reactions that are out there, though there are not that many that are severe for the vaccinations; and the Johns Hopkins website does a great job letting you know what the worldwide picture is.”