Why Americans Skip COVID Boosters

Why Americans Skip COVID Boosters

More than 80% of Americans Did Not Get COVID-19 Boosters: What’s Holding Them Back?

COVID-19 Booster Shot

Did you get your COVID-19 booster shot last fall? If not, you are not alone. More than 80% of eligible Americans did not receive their booster shots. A recent study aimed to uncover the reasons behind this hesitancy towards booster shots.

The Reasons and Concerns Behind the Hesitation

This study surveyed participants and found that several factors contributed to their decision to forgo the booster shot. Here are the key findings:

  1. Prior COVID-19 infection: Nearly 40% of participants cited their previous infection with the virus as their reason for not getting the booster shot. They believed that their prior infection would provide enough protection against future infections.

  2. Worries about side effects: Around 31.5% of respondents expressed concerns about potential side effects from the booster shot. These concerns may stem from widespread misinformation or anecdotes about adverse reactions.

  3. Questioning the need for extra protection: Approximately 28% of participants did not believe that a booster shot would offer additional protection against COVID-19. They may be unaware of the waning effectiveness of prior booster shots due to the emergence of new variants.

  4. Skepticism towards protection from new coronavirus strains: Another 23% of respondents doubted the ability of the booster shot to safeguard them against new variants of the coronavirus.

Educating the Public is Crucial

The study’s author, Elizabeth Jacobs, emphasizes the need for more public education and awareness campaigns surrounding booster shots. As a professor of epidemiology at the Zuckerman College of Public Health at the University of Arizona Health Sciences, she emphasizes the significance of staying up to date with COVID-19 boosters.

Jacobs states, “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.”

The Importance of Boosters and Closing the Gaps

The research mentioned in this study was conducted through Arizona CoVHORT, a project that initiated in May 2020 to track the impact of COVID-19 infections in Arizonans. The findings, published in the October 6 issue of the journal Vaccine, aim to inform interventions that increase booster shot uptake.

The study also revealed that different strategies may be required to address the fluctuating vaccination rates. Factors such as age, ethnicity, and education level can influence an individual’s hesitancy towards receiving their booster shots. This highlights the need for tailored messaging and interventions to address specific concerns and perceptions among different demographic groups.

Jacobs explains, “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. So it’s important to get another booster as we head into the fall and winter.”

Encouraging Boosters for a Safer Future

The findings from this study shed light on the reasons behind the low uptake of booster shots in the United States. With less than 20% of eligible Americans receiving their booster shot, interventions and education can play a pivotal role in increasing this number.

Public health campaigns need to not only address concerns about side effects and mistaken beliefs about prior infections but also emphasize the importance of boosters in providing additional protection against evolving COVID-19 variants.

As the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention continues to monitor and adapt vaccination guidelines, it is crucial for individuals to stay informed and receive necessary booster shots. Boosters can significantly contribute to reducing the spread of the virus and minimizing the severity of breakthrough infections.

So if you’re eligible for a COVID-19 booster shot, don’t hesitate. Seek accurate information, consult with healthcare professionals, and get your shot. Together, we can work towards a safer and healthier future.

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, October 2, 2023