No matter how safe and effective an eventual COVID-19 vaccine may be, plenty of New Jerseyans will choose to go without it, according to a Rutgers-Eagleton Poll released Tuesday.

The poll of 1,000 New Jersey adults found many residents are concerned about potential side effects, and feel they don't know enough about how well a vaccine would actually work.

Depending on how the question was asked by the Eagleton Center for Public Interest Polling at Rutgers University-New Brunswick, between 36% and 47% of New Jerseyans said they will "probably" or "definitely" not get vaccinated against the potentially deadly respiratory illness.

When the vaccine was described as "safe and effective," 60% of residents said they'd definitely or likely receive the vaccine. When it was described as a "first-generation vaccine," just 49% of respondents were on board. Fifty-three percent of respondents said they'd definitely or probably get the vaccine when it was described as simply "a vaccine."

"As more and more news come out about vaccines, like Pfizer and Moderna most recently, this could change public opinion for the better in terms of wanting to get the vaccine," said poll director Ashley Koning. "On the other hand, we don't know if a lot of these viewpoints are separated by political viewpoints or viewpoints on the pandemic."

Pfizer and Moderna have both recently stated that their COVID-19 vaccine trials point to vaccinations that are at least 90% effective. New Jersey has set a goal of inoculating at least 70% of the adult population within six months of a vaccination's release.

Among poll respondents who cited reluctance to get vaccinated, 80% said they're majorly concerned about side effects, and 82% cited the need for more information about how the vaccine works. Twenty-five percent said a major reason they'd go without a vaccine is because they don't think they'd need it.

Whether or not a vaccine is approved quickly, New Jersey residents are not confident that a "return to normal" is coming anytime soon. Forty-two percent said New Jersey will not be back to normal until six to 12 months from now. Another 30 percent feel it'll take longer.

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