Given the emergence of breakthrough infections, new variants, and concerns of waning immunity from the primary COVID-19 vaccines, booster shots emerged as a viable option to shore-up protection against COVID-19. Following the recent authorization of vaccine boosters among vulnerable Americans, this study aims to assess COVID-19 vaccine booster hesitancy and its associated factors in a nationally representative sample. A web-based 48-item psychometric valid survey was used to measure vaccine literacy, vaccine confidence, trust, and general attitudes towards vaccines. Data were analyzed through Chi-square (with a post hoc contingency table analysis) and independent-sample t
-/Welch tests. Among 2138 participants, nearly 62% intended to take booster doses and the remaining were COVID-19 vaccine booster hesitant. The vaccine-booster-hesitant group was more likely to be unvaccinated (62.6% vs. 12.9%) and did not intend to have their children vaccinated (86.1% vs. 27.5%) compared to their non-hesitant counterparts. A significantly higher proportion of booster dose hesitant individuals had very little to no trust in the COVID-19 vaccine information given by public health/government agencies (55% vs. 12%) compared to non-hesitant ones. The mean scores of vaccine confidence index and vaccine literacy were lower among the hesitant group compared to the non-hesitant group. Compared to the non-hesitant group, vaccine hesitant participants were single or never married (41.8% vs. 28.7%), less educated, and living in a southern region of the nation (40.9% vs. 33.3%). These findings underscore the need of developing effective communication strategies emphasizing vaccine science in ways that are accessible to individuals with lower levels of education and vaccine literacy to increase vaccination uptake.
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