Why Aren’t More Americans Getting COVID-19 Boosters?

Why Aren’t More Americans Getting COVID-19 Boosters?

A recent study conducted by researchers from the University of Arizona Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health reveals that a significant portion of the eligible population in the United States did not receive a bivalent COVID-19 booster shot. This lack of uptake was primarily attributed to several factors.

Published in the journal Vaccine, the study titled “Understanding low bivalent COVID-19 booster uptake among US adults” emphasizes the need to educate the public and healthcare providers about the importance of staying up to date on COVID-19 boosters. Elizabeth Jacobs, the lead author of the study and a professor of epidemiology, explains that there is still a lack of awareness regarding boosters’ benefits.

According to the survey conducted as part of the study, nearly 40% of participants who did not receive a booster cited a prior infection with SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for COVID-19, as the main reason. The second most common reason was concerns about potential side effects, followed by skepticism regarding the additional protection provided by boosters compared to already received vaccines.

The study suggests that addressing these concerns and misconceptions through targeted education campaigns could improve vaccination rates. The specific reasons for not getting a booster varied among different demographic groups, indicating the need for tailored strategies.

The research was conducted as part of the Arizona CoVHORT project, which tracks the impacts of SARS-CoV-2 infection over time. Participants of the project were sent a questionnaire asking if they had received a booster shot and, if not, to select their reasons for not doing so.

As the rollout of the next COVID-19 booster approaches, the findings of this study have the potential to inform interventions aimed at increasing booster uptake. The study highlights the importance of educating individuals about the added protection boosters offer, especially concerning new variants and the waning effectiveness of prior boosters over time.

The Arizona CoVHORT project continues to enroll participants to study the prevalence and symptoms of long COVID, with funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Source: University of Arizona

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Source Article: “Understanding low bivalent COVID-19 booster uptake among US adults,” Vaccine (2023). DOI: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2023.08.080

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