Story at a glance

  • More unvaccinated adults are willing to get a COVID-19 vaccine because of the omicron variant, President Biden said Thursday, citing an unnamed poll.
  • A recent Morning Consult poll suggested 30 percent of unvaccinated Americans are now considering getting vaccinated, given the identification of the omicron variant.
  • Only a handful of cases of the omicron variant have been reported in the U.S. so far, but officials have said there are likely more that have gone unreported.

Concern over the omicron variant of COVID-19 is lowering vaccine resistance among unvaccinated adults, President Biden said this week, though unvaccinated Americans are still more likely to see worry about the spread of the variant as excessive.

In remarks given at the National Institutes of Health on Thursday, Biden said a recent poll had indicated unvaccinated adults were now more willing to get the shot because of the new variant.

Biden did not specify which poll he was referring to because he was not entirely sure of the details, he said.

He said it was his understanding that 30 percent of unvaccinated Americans who had previously said they would get vaccinated “under no circumstances” now said they would get vaccinated because of the new variant.


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“We hope that’s true,” he said. “I hope that’s true.”

There is some speculation Biden was referencing data from a recent Morning Consult poll, which indicated that the omicron variant was lowering vaccine resistance among the unvaccinated.

Among unvaccinated respondents, 30 percent said, given the identification of the omicron variant, they would consider getting vaccinated. That share was higher among unvaccinated adults who also indicated they were worried about the spread of the variant, according to the poll.

Still, unvaccinated adults overall were more likely than vaccinated adults to say concern over the omicron variant is “overblown.”

Only a small number of cases of the variant have been reported in the U.S. since the first one was identified in California on Wednesday, but officials have said there are likely more cases that have flown under the radar.

The omicron variant of COVID-19 was first reported to the World Health Organization by South Africa late last month. The WHO designated it a “variant of concern” just two days later.


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Published on Dec 03, 2021