A recent study conducted by the University of Arizona Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health has identified the reasons behind the low uptake of bivalent COVID-19 boosters among US adults. The study, titled “Understanding low bivalent COVID-19 booster uptake among US adults,” was published in the journal Vaccine.
The researchers found that less than 20% of the eligible population in the United States received a booster shot. One of the main reasons for this low uptake was that nearly 40% of survey participants reported not getting a booster because they had already been infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
The second-most common reason for not receiving a booster was concerns about vaccine side effects, with 31.5% of participants citing this as a deterrent. Other reasons included beliefs that the booster would not provide additional protection over the vaccines already received (28.6%) or protect against SARS-CoV-2 infection (23.1%). It is worth noting that these reasons varied among different demographic groups such as age, ethnicity, and education.
The study was conducted through Arizona CoVHORT, a longitudinal study launched in May 2020 to track the impacts of SARS-CoV-2 infection among Arizonans. Participants were asked to complete a questionnaire regarding their booster uptake and reasons for not getting one. The findings of the study suggest that there is a need for improved education and communication about the importance and benefits of COVID-19 boosters.
As the rollout of the next COVID-19 booster is expected in the fall, the researchers hope that these results will contribute to the design of effective interventions to increase booster uptake and protect more individuals from the latest SARS-CoV-2 variants. The study highlights the importance of receiving boosters even for those who have previously been infected and emphasizes that the effectiveness of prior boosters can diminish over time due to new variants.
The Arizona CoVHORT study is ongoing and continues to enroll participants to further investigate the prevalence and symptoms of long COVID.
– Elizabeth T. Jacobs et al, Understanding low COVID-19 booster uptake among US adults, Vaccine (2023).