Why So Many Americans Aren't Getting COVID Boosters

THURSDAY, Oct. 5, 2023 (HealthDay News) -- More than 80% of eligible Americans did not get a COVID-19 booster shot last fall. Now, a new study reveals the reasons for the hesitation.

Nearly 40% of survey participants said a prior COVID-19 infection factored into their decision to not get the booster. Another 31.5% were worried about side effects. And an additional 28% didn’t think a booster would provide extra protection, while 23% said it wouldn’t protect from the new coronavirus.

“Our results indicate that we have a lot more work to do in terms of educating the public and health care providers about the importance of staying up to date on COVID-19 boosters,” said first study author Elizabeth Jacobs. She is a professor of epidemiology at the Zuckerman College of Public Health at the University of Arizona Health Sciences, in Tucson.

This research was done through Arizona CoVHORT, which began in May 2020 to track the effect of COVID infection on Arizonans.

Researchers hope the results, published in the Oct. 6 issue of the journal Vaccine, will help encourage interventions to get more people vaccinated.

A variety of strategies may be needed to improve vaccination rates, as age, ethnicity and education affected reasons for hesitation, according to the study.

“Our results indicate that many people don’t know that a booster provides additional protection even if they have already been infected or that the effectiveness of prior boosters wanes over time due to new variants,” Jacobs said in a university news release. “So it’s important to get another booster as we head into the fall and winter.”

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on COVID-19 vaccines.

SOURCE: University of Arizona Health Sciences, news release, Oct. 2, 2023

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