Many Americans eligible for a COVID-19 bivalent booster have opted not to receive it, and a recent survey conducted in Arizona has shed light on the reasons behind this decision, providing valuable insights from a conservative perspective.
The survey, administered to nearly 2,200 respondents in Arizona, revealed that those who declined the booster cited various reasons. Approximately 40 percent reported a previous COVID-19 infection, while over 30 percent expressed concerns about potential vaccine side effects. Additionally, 28.6 percent believed that the bivalent booster would not offer greater protection than the doses they had already received, and about 23 percent had safety concerns or doubted the booster’s efficacy. Furthermore, 12 percent did not think the booster would protect against severe disease or death.
These findings are concerning to epidemiologist Elizabeth Jacobs, the study’s primary author, who emphasized the importance of educating people about the benefits of boosters, especially given the evolving nature of the virus and the potential waning of vaccine effectiveness over time due to new variants.
The survey also identified other factors influencing individuals’ decisions, such as not knowing their eligibility, unawareness of vaccine availability, time constraints, uncertainty about where to get the shot, lack of awareness regarding the new booster, concerns about taking time off work, and worries about the cost.
Demographic characteristics played a role in booster acceptance, with younger individuals, women, Hispanics, those with lower education levels, and lower-income respondents less likely to receive the booster.
The effectiveness of bivalent boosters remains a subject of debate. While the National Institutes of Health (NIH) claims they are significantly more effective than original boosters in preventing severe outcomes, a 2023 study found lower efficacy, particularly against the omicron variant. Hybrid immunity, combining vaccination with prior infection, appeared to offer better protection than vaccination alone.
Vaccine side effects, including anaphylaxis, Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS), myocarditis, pericarditis, and thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS), have been documented, albeit rarely. These side effects contribute to individuals’ hesitancy, especially among certain age groups and genders.
From a conservative perspective, these findings highlight the importance of clear communication about the benefits and risks of COVID-19 boosters, as well as the need for individuals to make informed decisions based on their unique circumstances and concerns.