To beat the pandemic and truly get back to normal — whatever that means today — we need a COVID-19 cure. Either that would take the form of an effective treatment that prevents a case from getting serious or fatal, or a vaccine that gives an effective immunity. Assuming that one can be developed, that would be the best-case scenario, as long as enough people took it to build “herd immunity” to the virus and hopefully stop it from mutating into other strains.

So just how stoked is everyone to receive a vaccine if one gets developed? Er ….

Overall, 27% of adults in an ABC News/Washington Post poll say they definitely (15%) or probably (12%) would not get the vaccine. Among them, half say they don’t trust vaccines in general, while nearly a quarter don’t think it’s needed in this case.

A plurality definitely would get vaccinated (43%) and 28% say they probably would. The net, 71%, is much higher than the adult vaccination rate for the standard seasonal flu – 45% in the 2018-19 flu season, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (with a wide range by state, from 34 to 56%.) It’s much lower than the 2017 child vaccination rates for polio and measles/mumps/rubella, 93 and 92%, respectively.

A mix of groups express less interest in getting vaccinated – 46% of Republican women, 45% (as noted) very conservative Americans, 40% of Republicans and 37% of evangelical Christians.

It’s better than acceptance rates for the flu vaccine, as ABC News notes in this excerpt, but that’s not really all that comforting. People who refuse to get flu vaccines usually object to the lack of effect they see from it, but also because flu isn’t fatal in any but a handful of exceptional cases. The COVID-19 is not just more transmissible, it’s far more lethal. Even if it’s mostly lethal for certain demographics, the risk of remaining an unvaccinated carrier to friends and family in those demos should be serious enough to warrant preventive measures, or so one would think.

Speaking of demos, the closer one gets to an epicenter, the more likely they are to say they will get vaccinated. This might be more of an indicator that the partisan demos, and one might explain the other in part too:

Experience and expectations play a role in these intentions. For example, Americans living in hard-hit areas are especially likely to say they’d get the vaccine. Eighty-one percent of people in U.S. counties with the most COVID-19 cases say so, compared with 61 percent of those in counties with the fewest cases.

It’s nearly as high, 78 percent, among Northeasterners and urban residents, vs. 65 percent in the South and 63 percent in rural areas. And among those who report that their lives have been disrupted by the pandemic, three-quarters say they’d get vaccinated. That drops to 55 percent of those who report little or no disruption.

Bear in mind that the “hard-hit areas” are primarily cities and first-ring suburbs. Democrats dominate in those areas, while Republicans tend to dominate in the outer-ring suburbs, exurbs, and rural areas where COVID-19 hasn’t hit crisis levels. If vaccination support has a direct link to proximity — which would seem natural — then the partisan split probably has more to do with where people live than which party they support.

The pollster later notes that living in an urban area is one of the stronger positive indicators for supporting vaccination, but … that has a curious caveat:

In a statistical analysis called regression, holding demographic and attitudinal factors constant, being black and being a woman are negative predictors of intention to get vaccinated. Positive predictors include being a Democrat, worry about catching the disease or about a second wave, and living in an urban area.

Democrats have long done better with women and African-Americans are one of their strongest demos, if not the strongest. So how do Democrats show so much support for vaccines if both women and African-Americans contraindicate against it?

Regardless of how one views the demos, the problem is that vaccine use won’t be as robust as needed to get transmission of COVID-19 eliminated. It will get greatly slowed, but it won’t disappear. It would still percolate and put some populations at risk, such as the elderly and infirm, as long as it does. If it continues to circulate in its current form, it’s more likely to mutate into new strains with different potentialities — more minor, perhaps, or worse — and perhaps even requiring new vaccines to address them. Right now, it looks as though even a free vaccine won’t have enough takers to truly eliminate the threat, which means that we might have to settle for a new version of “normal” for quite a while to come.