This June 2022 study conducted in New York City (NYC) and the United States (US) aimed to assess differences in attitudes toward COVID-19 vaccination, vaccine mandates, and pandemic-related information. The study included 500 respondents from NYC and 1,000 respondents from across the US, examining various aspects of vaccine acceptance, hesitancy, and perceptions.
The study was published this June in a special PRI-curated issue of the Journal of Health Communication: International Perspectives, entitled Leaving No One Behind: Opportunities for improving future pandemic-related communication. The authors of the article include: Ayman El-Mohandes, Katarzyna Wyka, Trenton M White, Wafaa M El-Sadr, Lauren Rauh, Ashwin Vasan, Danielle Greene, Kenneth Rabin, Scott C Ratzan, Simran Chaudhri, Spencer Kimball, & Jeffrey V Lazarus
With the CDC recommending everyone 6 months and older get an updated COVID-19 vaccine to protect against the potentially serious outcomes of COVID-19 illness this fall and winter, these findings are a reminder that there is a real need to address hesitancy and increase public vaccination efforts.
- Vaccine Acceptance: NYC respondents reported higher COVID-19 vaccine acceptance compared to the US respondents, with 88.4% of NYC respondents accepting the vaccine compared to 80.2% in the US.
- Booster Acceptance and Hesitancy: Booster acceptance was higher among NYC respondents who had previously received the vaccine (55.5%) compared to the US (51.3%). However, booster hesitancy was significantly higher in NYC (19.7%) than in the US (13%) among those who had been vaccinated, possibly reflecting COVID-19 fatigue and perceptions of reduced vaccine impact.
- Vaccine Acceptance for Children: NYC parents were more likely to accept COVID-19 vaccination for their children (73.4%) compared to US parents (66.9%). However, vaccine hesitancy for children was similar in both groups, possibly due to concerns about dosing and efficacy.
- Support for Vaccine Mandates: NYC respondents showed greater support for various COVID-19 vaccine mandates, including employer-required, government-required, and mandates for attending schools, indoor activities, and international travel. Likely influenced by their earlier exposure to the severity of the pandemic.
- Attention to COVID-19 Information: About one-third of respondents in both NYC and the US reported paying less attention to new information about COVID-19 vaccines compared to a year earlier, highlighting the challenge of maintaining public engagement as the pandemic continues.
- Beliefs about Vaccination: Belief in the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines in preventing Long-COVID was similar in both NYC and the US. Intent not to vaccinate due to perceived lower disease severity was also similar in both groups.
- COVID-19 Treatment Preference: A preference for neither vaccinating nor taking medication for COVID-19 treatment was lower among NYC respondents compared to the US.
NYC, as the initial epicenter of the pandemic in the US, had a unique experience with COVID-19, potentially influencing higher risk perceptions and vaccine acceptance among New Yorkers. This study underscores the ongoing importance of effective communication, targeted outreach efforts, and vaccine promotion strategies to maintain high vaccination rates and address hesitancy, even in areas with earlier pandemic exposure like NYC. The findings emphasize the need for sustained efforts to combat COVID-19 fatigue and adapt communication strategies to evolving circumstances. Effective communication by healthcare providers and trusted community partners remains crucial in promoting vaccination and boosting confidence, especially among hesitant groups.
Read the full article at Taylor & Francis Online.