According to a survey, more than a third of Massachusetts residents say they most likely won't take the COVID-19 vaccination when it becomes available to them.

Of those who express skepticism, most say they don't trust the approval process and or have concerns about potential side effects. The Western New England University Polling Institute says fewer than 60 percent of the respondents they surveyed indicated a willingness to be vaccinated.

The results are surprising, at least to me, since according to the State House News Service, "64 percent said they are very or somewhat worried about contracting COVID-19, and 66 percent said they know someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19, with 29 percent saying they know someone who has died from COVID-19."

By the way, 90 percent say they support a mask mandate in their local community.

"Despite the suffering and deprivation that people may have encountered either firsthand or through the experiences of others during the pandemic, a sizable percentage of the public right now is not convinced about the value of getting a vaccine," said institute director Tim Vercellotti. SHNS reports Vercellotti believes confidence in the vaccine could grow once people begin receiving it and more is learned about its effects.

Given the level of personal disruption the virus has had on our lives, particularly the elderly and those with pre-existing conditions, I would have imagined most folks would be chomping at the bit to be vaccinated.

The politicization of the pandemic and the development of a vaccine has created fear among the masses. The media must do a better and more responsible job of discussing the vaccination process if we are ever to get beyond all of this.

Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at barry@wbsm.com and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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