The emergence of the Omicron COVID-19 variant is encouraging many already vaccinated adults to get a recommended booster shot but is providing only a little motivation for unvaccinated adults to get an initial shot, a new KFF COVID-19 Vaccine Monitor quick response survey finds.
The survey found that about half (54%) of vaccinated adults who haven’t gotten a booster dose say news of the omicron variant will make them more likely to do so. The data was collected from December 15-20 to provide an early look at omicron’s potential impact on the public’s vaccination intentions.
Omicron’s emergence appears to be having a much smaller, but not insignificant, effect on unvaccinated adults. The survey finds that 12% of those who are unvaccinated say it makes them more likely to get an initial shot, but a much larger share (87%) say it does not make them more likely to do.
The public also appears to be increasingly concerned about getting seriously ill amid the Omicron wave. The new survey shows that half (50%) of the public is now worried that they will get seriously sick from coronavirus, up from 30% in November’s full Vaccine Monitor report. Vaccinated adults are more likely than unvaccinated ones to worry about personally getting sick from COVID-19 (52% vs. 42%).
While about three-fourths (77%) of the public say they are aware that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) now recommends that all adults get a booster shot, almost one in four say that they are not sure (19%) or incorrectly believe that the CDC does not recommend booster shots for all adults (4%).
Among vaccinated adults, one in five (21%) are either unsure or incorrect about the CDC’s recommendation. About 3 in 10 Hispanic adults (31%), Black adults (28%), and those under age 30 (39%) are also unsure or incorrect.