Roughly half of Americans interested in new COVID-19 booster

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(NewsNation) — A new Reuters/Ipsos poll shows roughly half of Americans are interested in getting the latest COVID-19 booster, which is meant to protect against an omicron variant of the coronavirus.

The results of the online poll suggest an uptick in interest compared to the previous booster, which Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data shows only one in six Americans received.

Almost 30% of respondents were very interested in the vaccine, and 24% said they were somewhat interested. Among those unlikely to get the shot, 17% were not very interested, and 30% were not interested at all.

The U.S. is advising all Americans age six and older to get the shot, while some European countries are prioritizing the booster for the elderly and those with other conditions that put them at risk of serious illness.

Reasons for not getting the shot included having had COVID-19 already and believing previous vaccinations provided enough protection. A small percentage of users said they thought their age group did not need the vaccine.

The Food and Drug Administration approved the new booster this week as COVID-19 hospitalizations rose in recent weeks. While the number of patients hospitalized remains below the number of hospitalizations seen in the early days of the pandemic, experts believe the surge is likely undercounted.

Many public health departments have stopped tracking COVID-19 as people rely increasingly on home testing, which many do not report or have stopped testing altogether.

Demand for vaccines has decreased since the first shots were offered in 2021. Among poll respondents, 54% said they were personally concerned about the virus, down from 77% in a poll done three years ago. Almost 42% said they were interested in the vaccine in hopes of reducing the risk of severe illness.

Among those not interested in the vaccine, 36% said their main reason was that they think it is dangerous, and 5% said they don’t believe COVID-19 makes people sick.

COVID-19 has killed over a million Americans and infected over 100 million. There is no evidence that the vaccine is dangerous despite rhetoric from politicians that has inflamed anti-vaccine sentiment.

Only 56.5 million people got the previous booster shot, according to CDC data, which falls below the annual flu vaccine numbers of around 160 million.

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