Two-Thirds of American Adults Don't Plan on Getting Updated COVID-19 Boosters Soon: Poll

Two-Thirds of American Adults Don't Plan on Getting Updated COVID-19 Boosters Soon: Poll
A pharmacist prepares a COVID-19 vaccine booster shot in San Rafael, Calif., on Oct. 1, 2021. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Zachary Stieber

A majority of U.S. adults will not get the updated COVID-19 booster shots soon, according to a new survey.

Just 5 percent of those surveyed said they've already received a booster and 27 percent said they will get one as soon as possible.

The rest said they will wait and see, only get one if required, definitely not get one, or cannot get one because they have not received a primary series.

That's according to a survey conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation that was carried out from Sept. 15–26 among 1,534 U.S. adults. The margin of error was plus/minus 3 percent.
Older adults were more likely to have received or plan to receive an updated booster. Forty-five percent of those 65 and older fall into one of those categories. Just three percent of respondents aged 18 to 29 have received an updated booster, and just 23 percent said they will get one as soon as possible.

Updated Boosters

The updated boosters are made by Moderna and Pfizer. The old boosters, which are no longer available, only contained the Wuhan strain of the COVID-19 virus. The new ones add a spike protein component with elements of BA.4 and BA.5 to the Wuhan component, making it a bivalent.
The bivalents are unproven; results for tests in humans weren't available before the Food and Drug Administration authorized the shots on Aug. 31, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended them for virtually all Americans aged 12 and up who have received a primary regimen, regardless of how many prior boosters a person has received.

Approximately 7.5 million of the bivalent shots have been administered through Sept. 29, according to the CDC. Before the rollout, the CDC said that some 209 million Americans were eligible to get an updated booster.

People should not get a booster if at least two months have elapsed since their last dose of a vaccine, according to the CDC. Authorities have generally recommended not getting another shot within three months of a COVID-19 infection. Recovering from COVID-19 gives a person strong protection; studies have shown that protection from natural immunity is superior to that conferred by vaccination.

Little Knowledge

Many adults know little about the new boosters, including 66 percent of adults aged 18 to 29, according to the Kaiser survey.

Half of adults said they know a little or nothing at all about them, with older Americans being most likely to answer they know some or a lot.

Democrats were most likely to say they knew some or a lot, while Republicans were least likely and independents were in the middle, when the results were broken down by party affiliation. That pattern also manifested when people answered about their intention or opposition to getting a booster. A fifth of Republican respondents said they definitely will not get an updated booster, versus 8 percent of independents and 6 percent of Democrats.

Further, the vaccinated were more likely to answer they knew some or a lot, though 19 percent of unvaccinated persons said they knew a lot, compared to 16 percent of the vaccinated respondents.