Healthcare

Large majority of unvaccinated say omicron doesn’t make them more likely to get shot: KFF

Associated Press — Nam Y. Huh

A vast majority of unvaccinated respondents in a Kaiser Family Foundation poll said the omicron variant doesn’t make them more likely to get the COVID-19 vaccine, signaling significant obstacles to getting more Americans vaccinated as the highly transmissible strain spreads.

The poll published Tuesday determined that 87 percent of unvaccinated adults said the emergence of the omicron strain does not make them more likely to get the shots, compared to 12 percent who said the variant makes them more likely to get the vaccine.

The data comes from KFF’s quick response survey collecting reactions to the omicron variant that was first confirmed in the U.S. this month and has since become the dominant variant as of Monday.

Almost half of unvaccinated respondents, at 48 percent, said nothing could persuade them to get the vaccine. Twelve percent said more research and transparency could convince them, while 6 percent said mandates and 5 percent said large monetary incentives could encourage them to get vaccinated.

Three percent also said they could be swayed if their doctor recommended it or if the vaccine stopped 100 percent of all infections, even though vaccines do not provide 100 percent protection. 

Among the vaccinated, half of those who have not gotten their booster doses said news about the omicron strain makes them more likely to get the extra shot. Overall, almost half of all adults said they have received an additional dose, after booster eligibility was expanded to all adults last month.

Half of all adults said they are worried they will contract COVID-19 in a 20 percent increase from November before the omicron variant turned up. But unvaccinated adults are still less concerned, with just 42 percent saying they are worried about getting sick from the virus.

The partisan divide also remains as 57 percent of Democrats said they were concerned about getting infected, compared to 46 percent of independents and 39 percent of Republicans.

KFF’s poll surveyed 1,065 respondents Dec. 15-20 — a shorter time period than for the organization’s vaccine monitor. The margin of error for the total and vaccinated population amounted to 4 percentage points. Among the 186 unvaccinated respondents, the margin of error reached 9 percentage points. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates the omicron variant makes up 73.2 percent of all COVID-19 cases — a huge jump from 12.6 percent the week prior — as officials and experts prepare for an expected surge in cases. 

Studies have shown vaccinated individuals, particularly those who got boosted, have protection against severe disease from omicron, leaving the unvaccinated population most at risk for serious outcomes like hospitalization and deaths.

Tags Coronavirus COVID-19 COVID-19 vaccine COVID-19 variant omicron Omicron variant Pandemic unvaccinated
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