Nearly Half of Unvaccinated Say Nothing Will Convince Them to Get COVID Shot: Poll

Nearly half of unvaccinated Americans say nothing would convince them to get inoculated, despite the arrival of the highly transmissible Omicron variant, according to a new poll.

A survey released this week by the public health non-profit Kaiser Family Foundation found that 48 percent of 186 unvaccinated U.S. adults, making up a "nationally representative" sample, said nothing would persuade them.

A much smaller share of 12 percent said more research and transparency could change their mind.

Even fewer said they would get vaccinated if it were required for work or legally mandated (6 percent), if they received a large financial incentive for vaccination (5 percent), if their doctor recommended it (3 percent), or if the vaccine prevented every COVID infection (3 percent).

The Kaiser poll also included 878 vaccinated adults, bringing the sample total to 1,065 people. They were surveyed online and by phone on December 15-20.

Half of all adults—and 52 percent of vaccinated adults—said they were worried they would get seriously sick from COVID-19. This was a rise from 30 percent in November, before the Omicron variant took hold. Only 42 percent of unvaccinated adults were worried about getting unwell from the coronavirus.

The poll found larger shares of Hispanic adults (64 percent) than white adults (43 percent) were worried about getting sick. Fifty-two percent of Black Americans were worried.

Although the Omicron surge is encouraging vaccinated adults to get booster doses, many unvaccinated adults are unmoved by the news of the variant, which has already become the dominant variant in the U.S. Twenty-seven percent of vaccinated adults said Omicron would make them more likely to get a booster dose.

The majority of unvaccinated adults — 87 percent — said the news about the Omicron variant did not make it anymore likely they would get vaccinated. Only 12 percent of unvaccinated adults said news of the variant would make them more likely to get vaccinated.

Some policymakers and scientists believe mandates are needed to get enough people vaccinated to control the pandemic and prevent health systems from being overwhelmed. In an interview with Newsweek earlier this month, Dr Thomas Frieden, the former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said vaccine mandates were needed in the U.S. but legal obstacles and court cases could stop them succeeding.

MSNBC medical analyst Dr. Vin Gupta said on Wednesday that "negative incentives" should be considered to battle Omicron—such as putting people who have chosen not to be vaccinated at the back of the line for treatment if they get seriously ill.

Anti-vaxxers in LA
Hundreds of anti-vaccination protesters gathered outside Los Angeles City Hall on August 14. Nearly half of unvaccinated Americans say nothing will convince them to get inoculated, according to a new poll. Barbara Davidson/Getty