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Changes in COVID-19 Vaccine Intent Among a Diverse Population of Older Adults, June 2021-February 2022

Introduction COVID-19 vaccination rates remain suboptimal in the United States. Clinicians and policymakers need to better understand how likely vaccine-hesitant individuals are to ultimately accept vaccination and what is associated with such changes. This study’s aims were to 1) describe changes between vaccine intentions and actual uptake from June 2021 through February 2022, and 2) identify modifiable factors associated with vaccine uptake among those with initial hesitancy. Methods This cohort study included a stratified random sample of adults aged 65 years and older in an integrated health care system. The survey, conducted June through August 2021, elicited intent and perceptions regarding COVID-19 vaccination. Subsequent vaccine uptake through February 2022 was analyzed using electronic health records. Results Of 1195 individuals surveyed, 66% responded; 213 reported not yet having received a COVID-19 vaccine and were further analyzed. At baseline, most individuals said they would definitely not (42%) or probably not (5%) get the COVID-19 vaccine or were not sure (26%). During follow-up, 61 individuals (29%) were vaccinated, including 19% of those who initially said they would definitely not be vaccinated. Among vaccine-hesitant individuals, the rate of vaccination was highest for those who initially considered COVID-19 less dangerous than the vaccine (46%) or named short-term side effects (36%) as their most important concern. Conclusions COVID-19 vaccine intent among older adults was malleable during the pandemic’s second year, even among those who initially said they would definitely not be vaccinated. Vaccine uptake could be enhanced by increasing awareness of COVID-19 risks and by addressing vaccine side effects.

Authors: Durojaiye, Cimone; Prausnitz, Stephanie; Elkin, Eric P; Escobar, Patricia; Finn, Lucy; Chen, Yi-Fen Irene; Lieu, Tracy A

Perm J. 2022 Dec 19;26(4):78-84. Epub 2022-10-31.

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