Half of public say they’re uninformed on new COVID boosters: survey

A new poll released on Friday found that half of U.S. adults say they know little to nothing about the recently authorized bivalent coronavirus booster doses almost one month after they were made available.

The data from the Kaiser Family Foundation’s (KFF) COVID-19 Vaccine Monitor found that a minority of people said they knew “a lot” about the omicron-specific boosters at 17 percent while another 33 percent said they knew “some.”

Among the other half of respondents, 31 percent said they knew “a little” about the shots while 20 percent said they knew “nothing at all.”

Younger age groups were found to report knowing less about the shots, while a majority of those in older age groups over the age of 50 — who have been eligible for second boosters for much of this year — reported having at least some knowledge on the bivalent boosters.

The bivalent COVID-19 boosters from Moderna and Pfizer contain mRNA components of the original SARS-CoV-2 strain as well as an mRNA component that is found in both the BA.4 and BA.5 omicron subvariants.

According to federal data, the BA.5 subvariant currently accounts for about four out of five COVID-19 cases in the U.S., though its share of cases has recently begun falling as the BA.4.6, descended from BA.4., grows in proportion.

The KFF survey found that about a third of U.S. adults say they have either gotten the updated shot or are planning to get it “as soon as possible,” with only five percent saying they had gotten the shot. This data falls in line with what has been seen with previous booster campaigns. About 35 percent of the U.S. population has gotten the first booster according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

A little over a quarter of respondents said they were ineligible for the booster due to not being fully vaccinated with the first two primary doses of the COVID-19 vaccines. Another 18 percent said they planned to wait and see before getting the shot, ten percent said they would get it if they required to and 12 percent said they would “definitely” not be getting boosted.

Pfizer’s bivalent booster shot is currently available for fully vaccinated people over the age of 12 while Moderna’s is available for adults. Both companies have recently submitted applications seeking authorization to administer their shots in younger age groups.

The CDC recommends that recently vaccinated people wait at least two months from their last dose before getting the updated booster. People who have recently been infected with the coronavirus have also been advised to wait a few months.

The KFF poll was conducted from Sept. 15 to 26 with a sample size of 1,534 U.S. adults.

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