Infectious Disease

Many adults still not aware of updated COVID-19 boosters, survey suggests

January 21, 2023

2 min read

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Please see the study for all authors’ relevant financial disclosures.

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A survey of US adults who are vaccinated against COVID-19 found that many of them have not received a bivalent booster shot because they either do not know they are eligible for one or are unaware the shots exist.

The survey of 1,200 previously vaccinated adults was conducted in early November — 2 months after the updated booster shots were authorized and recommended. The shots target both the wild strain and omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2.

IDN0123Sinclair_Graphic_01_WEB

Data were derived from Sinclair AH, et al. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2023;doi:10.15585/mmwr.mm7203a5.

Nearly a quarter of survey respondents (23.2%) said they did not know they were eligible for a bivalent booster — the most common reason given for not receiving one. Respondents aged between 18 and 59 years were more likely to be unaware of their eligibility than older adults.

Almost as many respondents either did not know the bivalent boosters were available (19.3%) or cited their perceived existing immunity against infection (18.9%) as a reason for not getting one — the most common response among adults aged 60 years or older.

According to the CDC, only around 15% of the eligible US population has received a bivalent booster, including just 18.5% of adults. The proportion of people who have received one of the shots is as low as 5.7% in Mississippi and as high as 31% in Vermont.

Real-world studies have shown that the shots provide additional protection against symptomatic COVID-19 and reduce the risk for severe outcomes from COVID-19.

In the new study, after researchers showed survey respondents information about their eligibility and the availability of bivalent boosters, almost 68% of participants who had not received one yet indicated that they planned to do so.

However, a follow-up survey conducted 1 month later found that only around 28% of these respondents reported receiving one of the shots. Among those who had not yet gotten the additional booster, 36% said they were too busy. Around 82% said they still planned to get one.

“To help increase bivalent booster dose coverage, health care and public health professionals should use evidence-based strategies to convey information about booster vaccination recommendations and waning immunity, while also working to increase convenient access,” the authors wrote.

References:

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