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Joe Biden disputes there is vaccine hesitancy in US: ‘People are showing up’

·2-min read
President urges parents to vaccinate children aged 12 and older (Getty Images)
President urges parents to vaccinate children aged 12 and older (Getty Images)

Joe Biden has disputed whether the US is suffering from vaccine hesitancy, claiming contrary to all polling, “people are showing up.”

On a day when he urged parents of children over the age of 12 to have them vaccinated, the president appeared to question polls suggesting as many as 25 per cent of Americans will not get a vaccine.

In an interview with MSNBC, Mr Biden was asked how he was going to counter what his questioner described as “partisan resistance to vaccinations”, a reference to polls showing that Republicans were less likely to get vaccinated against the coronavirus than Democrats.

“They’re showing up,” said Mr Biden. “All this stuff about vaccine hesitancy…. The truth of the matter is, more and more and more people are getting the vaccine.”

He added: “I’ve never believed that there would be a large percentage of Americans who wouldn’t get the vaccine.”

Official figures suggest that around 35 per cent of the nation is fully vaccinated, meaning people have had a single shot of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine, or both shots of the Pfizer or Moderna drug.

At the same time, polls suggest more than 25 per cent of Americans do not intend to get vaccinated, and experts have said they fear the nation may never reach herd immunity.

Last month, an NPR/Marist poll found that one in four Americans said they would refuse a coronavirus vaccine outright if offered. Another five per cent were “undecided.”

It found the numbers were highest for Republican men and residents of rural areas.

Also on Wednesday, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advisory panel recommended the use of Pfizer’s vaccine for children ages 12 to 15. On Monday, the Food and Drug Administration authorised emergency use of the vaccine for that age group.

During a press conference, Mr Biden urged parents to get their youngsters vaccinated.

“[This] is one more giant step in our fight against the pandemic,” he said of the recommendation. “I encourage each of them and their parents to get their vaccination shots right away.”

He added: “We’re now on track to have 60 per cent of adults with at least one shot by next week. We still have a lot of work to do to get the adult vaccination rate to 70 per cent. But I believe we’re going to get there.”

In his interview with MSNBC, he said that people would be won over to get vaccinated by their neighbours and other people they trusted.

He said: “When your neighbour gets a vaccine, you say, ‘Maybe I should get it’.”

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