The recent push for additional COVID-19 boosters by the Biden administration has met with significant resistance from the American public, particularly among Republicans.
Moderna, a company that has seen substantial profits from COVID-19 vaccine sales, claimed in August that its latest vaccine is effective against subvariants like “Eris” and “Fornax”. Similarly, Pfizer stated that their vaccine, developed with BioNTech, shows promising activity against the Eris subvariant, at least in mice, according to Reuters.
Despite First Lady Jill Biden’s breakthrough COVID-19 case, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended on Sept. 12 that individuals aged 6 months and older should receive the updated COVID-19 vaccines. The CDC maintained that the benefits of vaccination outweigh any potential risks, emphasizing the rarity of serious reactions.
President Joe Biden, at 80 years old and having recovered from COVID-19 in July 2022, received an updated booster on Sept. 22 and urged all Americans to do the same.
However, a recent Kaiser Family Foundation COVID-19 Vaccine Monitor poll revealed that 52% of U.S. adults are hesitant to follow the president’s lead. Specifically, 33% stated they would “definitely not get” the vaccine, and an additional 19% said they would “probably not get” it. In contrast, 23% expressed a definite intention to get the vaccine, and 23% were inclined to “probably” get it.
For those who had not received any vaccine, 94% indicated they were likely to remain unvaccinated, with only 1% considering a change of stance.
Regarding children, most parents appear reluctant to vaccinate their kids. The KFF reported that a majority of parents, including 60% of parents of teenagers and two-thirds of parents with children aged 5 to 11 or 6 months to 4 years old, expressed that they would not administer the new COVID-19 vaccine.
Political affiliation seems to play a significant role in vaccine acceptance. While 69% of Democrats expressed willingness to get the latest shot, only 25% of Republicans shared that sentiment. Conversely, 29% of Democrats exhibited hesitancy, compared to 76% of Republicans who were not planning on getting the booster.
The data also reflects a connection between vaccine confidence and trust in medical authorities. A significant majority of Democrats (84%) believe the vaccines are safe, compared to only 36% of Republicans who share that belief. Similarly, 88% of Democrats trust the CDC, while only 40% of Republicans do. Trust in the U.S. Food and Drug Administration also showed a divide, with 86% of Democrats having confidence compared to 42% of Republicans.
According to the CDC’s COVID-19 tracker, only 1.8% of emergency department visits between Sept. 17 and Sept. 23 were attributed to the virus.