In a survey by the nonprofit Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) looking at attitudes towards the COVID-19 vaccines that was published on Thursday, it was found that 26 percent of Republicans said they would “definitely not” get the vaccine. The found also found that four in 10 Republicans remain unvaccinated. As well as Republicans, uninsured adults and white evangelicals were less likely to want to get the vaccine than other groups.
Democrats were found to be much more likely to get the vaccine. Only 2 percent of them said they definitely wouldn’t get it, while 91 percent have already received at least one dose.
On Thursday, President Joe Biden called on businesses to voluntarily move forward with his administration’s COVID-19 vaccine and testing requirements, despite several states challenging the controversial new rules in court.
The new rules mean that U.S. businesses with 100 or more employees have until January 4 to ensure their staff are either vaccinated against COVID, or submit a negative test weekly before going into the workspace.
Unvaccinated employees were meant to start wearing masks indoors at work on December 5, but the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) suspended enforcement and implementation of the mandate in November, after a ruling against it by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th circuit. Judge Kurt D. Engelhardt said the mandate was “fatally flawed” and raised “serious constitutional concerns.”
Democratic Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) on Thursday criticized Biden’s mandate, saying he supports legislation that would overturn the requirement for employers to ensure staff are vaccinated or tested.
U.S. health officials first identified the new Omicron COVID variant in the U.S. on Wednesday. Health officials are concerned about the variant, which with more than 50 mutations, could potentially evade immunity and be more transmissible.
The case was detected on Wednesday, from a traveler who had just returned from South Africa, Dr. Anthony Fauci, Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser, told reporters at the White House. The person had been fully vaccinated, but had not received a booster shot. The person had mild symptoms that are improving, health officials added.
Omicron infections have been detected in at least 24 countries, according to the World Health Organization.
South Africa, where the highest number of cases of the new variant have been reported, has seen its daily average infection number rise to 5,093 on Thursday, a sharp increase from the 417 daily average cases two weeks ago.
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