Between what I'm reading and what my listeners are saying, there's a harrowing number of Americans saying they don't trust a COVID-19 vaccine, and that could pose a risk to our nation's ability to achieve widespread immunity.

The essential catchword here is "trust," and it seems confidence in many institutions is at rock bottom.

Dr. Anthony Fauci has said 70-75 percent of Americans will need to vaccinate to get the country on the road to normality. I don't see those numbers becoming real anytime soon. Do you?

The New York Post reported that 55 percent of 2,053 firefighters polled by the Uniformed Firefighters Association answered "No" when asked: "Will you get the COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer when the Department makes it available?"

By the numbers: Just 17 percent of Black American adults say they definitely will get the vaccine if it was determined to be safe and it was free, but 49 percent said they would not get it. Vaccine hesitancy in the Black community is rooted in experiences with discrimination and systemic racism, according to a nationwide survey from KFF and The Undefeated. Those likely to take the vaccine are college-educated, white Americans and Democrats.

The findings tell me there's a distrust of government institutions and they underscore the need for credible outreach efforts when the vaccine is distributed. Otherwise, just dolling out the vaccine could fail to effectively reach the most vulnerable in the community, which has been disproportionately affected by the pandemic.

Trust is a simple thing to depart from, but the toughest thing to regain.

Phil Paleologos is the host of The Phil Paleologos Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. Contact him at phil@wbsm.com and follow him on Twitter @PhilPaleologos. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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