The research looks at the reluctance and rejection of COVID vaccines among the U.S. public

Vaccination against Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has been introduced in many countries, including the United States. As the number of cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues to rise, vaccinating many people in the population is vital. Despite campaigns to educate residents about the benefits of vaccines, many are still reluctant to get vaccinated.

Researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital, Johns Hopkins Hospital, and the University of California at San Francisco found that more than a third of those surveyed were reluctant to get the COVID-19 vaccine. To increase vaccine adoption, the team proposed public health measures to target vaccine reluctant populations. With news that allay their concerns about the effectiveness and safety of the vaccines.

COVID-19 vaccination

Pharmaceutical companies around the world are developing more than 250 vaccines against COVID-19. 71 of these are in clinical evaluation. Vaccines are currently being administered on a large scale. These include Moderna’s vaccine, Pfizer + BioNTech vaccine, AstraZeneca + University of Oxford vaccine and, more recently, Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

One way to fight the COVID-19 pandemic is to gain herd immunity. Health experts said at least 60 to 70 percent of the population must be vaccinated for COVID-19 vaccination to be effective in herd immunity.

However, the hesitation of the vaccine prevents this. For example, the hesitation rate of influenza vaccines has increased by about 40 percent. The researchers wanted to find out the most common reasons Americans are reluctant to get vaccinated against COVID-19.


Main Predictors of Covid-19 Vaccine Reluctance Personographic representation of the classification tree analysis identifying previous influenza vaccine coverage and political affiliation as significant predictors of COVID-19 vaccine reluctance. The main reasons for choosing the vaccine were concerns about the side effects and safety of the vaccine (75%, n = 497), the need for more information about the vaccine (53%, n = 351), and doubts about the effectiveness of the vaccine (17%) , n = 110).

The study

The study, published on the medRxiv * preprint server, aimed to determine the US population rate of COVID-19 hesitation, identify characteristics associated with hesitation, and identify the reasons for reluctance.

The researchers distributed a 43-question survey to 1,756 respondents between November 17 and 18, 2020 about Amazon Mechanical Turk, an online job market that gives people a small fee to get things done.

The expected primary outcome measure was the rate of COVID-19 vaccine hesitation, which is defined as either non-acceptance or uncertainty about vaccine acceptability. Secondary outcomes included patient characteristics related to vaccine hesitation, reasons for hesitation, and health care locations where they might want to be vaccinated.

The study results showed that a total of 663 participants hesitated to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, with 374 classified as non-acceptors and 289 unsure whether to accept the vaccine.

Further results indicated that the vaccine hesitation was linked to the influenza vaccine not being received for the past five years. Women, blacks who had higher education or less and who were members of the Republican Party, were also more reluctant to take vaccines.

The reasons given for the vaccine hesitation were potential side effects, the need for more information about the vaccine and doubts about the effectiveness of the vaccine. For the preferred vaccination sites, vaccine acceptors chose to go to their GPs, special vaccination areas, and pharmacies.

“Optimal health considerations for distributing COVID-19 vaccines require consideration of the vaccine’s hesitation and the reasons for its rejection,” the researchers said.

“To improve the efficient and fair distribution of vaccines, awareness-raising campaigns should aim to address major concerns of non-acceptors about the safety and side effects of the vaccine,” they added.

The team also recommended stepping up efforts to disseminate information about the benefits of vaccinating against infections. This can help control and spread the virus while also helping in achieving herd immunity.

As the virus continues to wreak havoc around the world, increased vaccination campaigns may help fight the pandemic. So far, more than 115 million people have been infected with SARS-CoV-2. Of these, 2.55 million died.

* Important NOTE

medRxiv publishes preliminary scientific reports that are not peer-reviewed and therefore should not be considered conclusive, guide clinical practice / health-related behavior, or be treated as established information.

Source:

Journal reference:

  • Raja, A., Niforatos, J., Anaya, N., Graterol, J. and Rodriquez, R. (2021). Vaccine Reluctance and Reasons for Declining COVID-19 Vaccination Among the U.S. Public: A Cross-Sectional Survey, medRxiv. https://doi.org/10.1101/2021.02.28.21252610, https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2021.02.28.21252610v1

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