Almost two thirds of recipients of a COVID vaccine incentive say it didn't sway them

News brief

Mask-wearing woman on smartphoneAmong 136 US survey respondents who reported receiving an incentive to get vaccinated against COVID-19, 64% said they would have done so anyway, according to a study published today in JAMA Network Open.

A team led by RAND Corp. researchers surveyed 2,356 participants on the RAND American Life Panel about their vaccination status and incentive receipt from June 15 to 23, 2022. Of all respondents, 52% were women, 22% were aged 65 and older, and 87% had received one or more doses of COVID-19 vaccine.

Influence varied by demographic factors

Of the 2,042 vaccinated participants, 136 (9%) said they received an incentive to receive the vaccine (eg, paid time off, gift card), with 101 (64%) of incentive recipients saying the incentive didn't influence their decision to be vaccinated.

The proportion of participants who received an incentive varied by age and race (19% Black, 13% Hispanic, and 6% each for Asian/Pacific Islander and White). Those earning more than $100,000 per year were the least likely to have received an incentive.

Race, urbanicity, income, and education were significantly tied to perception of the incentive's influence on trust in the COVID-19 vaccine. About 20% of Asian/Pacific Islander, Black, and Hispanic participants said that incentives increased their trust in the vaccine, compared with 4% of White respondents.

Residents of rural areas were significantly more likely than urban residents to say that incentives reduced their trust in the vaccine (34% vs 22%). As income or educational attainment rose, a greater proportion of respondents said the incentive didn't influence their trust level.

"The finding that perceptions of incentives' influence on trust in the COVID-19 vaccine varied by sociodemographic characteristics highlights the importance of tailored outreach to promote vaccination and consideration of whether incentives will have the desired outcome in subpopulations of interest," the study authors wrote.

"The strong associations of trust with urbanicity, education, and income may be useful to public health officials seeking to collaborate with communities to codesign effective and sustainable incentive strategies to reach unvaccinated groups," they concluded.

Studies: Dogs can detect COVID-19 with greater than 80% sensitivity

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Detection dog at airport

A meta-analysis of 27 studies today in the in Annals of Epidemiology reveals that dogs have more than 80% sensitivity and more than 90% specificity for detecting COVID-19 in people through scent, adding to the evidence that dogs are able to detect human disease.

Using dogs to detect COVID-19 emerged early in 2020, before diagnostic tests were easily available, and more than 70 groups in 60 countries have since performed research about how and if dogs could be deployed to test people infected with SARS-CoV-2. Historically, dogs' highly sensitive olfactory system has been used to detect a wide range of parasitic, bacterial, and viral infections in people, including malaria, Clostridium difficile, and bovine viral diarrhea.

In the 27 studies included in this analysis, dogs were tested on their ability to detect COVID-19 in sweat samples, saliva, masks, and urine. In six studies with high-quality data, ranges of sensitivity and specificity reached 82% to 97% and 83% to 100%, respectively, the authors said.

"The minimal requirements for rapid antigen tests according to the Paul Ehrlich Institute (Langen, Germany) should exceed 80% of sensitivity and 97% of specificity," the authors wrote. "The summarized results from this systematic review show that most SARS-CoV-2 canine scent detection is within or even above these requirements."

Public spaces and crowds of people sensitive to pandemic dynamics can greatly benefit from the speed of canine detection.

Because dogs are able to make scent detections in seconds, they have been used in real-time population-screening scenarios, such as airports and mass gatherings. Even with the emergence of rapid at-home and point-of-care tests, canine detection has a current role in COVID-19 detection, and will likely play a role in future pandemics, the researchers asserted.

"Public spaces and crowds of people sensitive to pandemic dynamics (schools, airports, events, etc.) can greatly benefit from the speed of canine detection," the authors concluded. "Although dogs are not, and should not be, the sole means of pandemic control, they can provide an additional and relatively cost-effective testing strategy."

Four countries report more polio cases

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Afghanistan has reported more wild poliovirus type 1 (WPV1) cases, and three African nations have reported more vaccine-derived polio cases, the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) said in its latest weekly update.

In Afghanistan, two WPV1 cases were reported in Nangarhar province, the country's first of 2023. The cases are from two different districts in the country's Eastern Region, which is the only part of Afghanistan where polio is still endemic. An investigation is under way to better identify populations where virus circulation persists.

Elsewhere, the Central African Republic reported 2 circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus type 2 (cVDPV2) cases from different provinces, bringing its total for the year to 7. The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) reported 1 more circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus type 1 (cVDPV1) case, in Haut Lomami province, which was added to its 2022 total, which is now at 145.

Finally, Nigeria reported 2 more cVDPV2 cases, 1 in Sokoto and the other in Kebbi. The country now has 6 cases for 2023.

WHO extends emergency; attack on Pakistan vaccinators

In another global polio development, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced last week that its polio emergency committee met on May 3 and recommended that the risk of global spread still warrants a public health emergency of international concern.

The agency said though progress was made, several concerns remain, such as questions about how WPV1 spread from Pakistan to Malawi and Mozambique, ongoing vaccine-derived polio outbreaks in the DRC, and immunization gaps that occurred during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Also, in Pakistan, attackers who opened fire today on a polio vaccination team in a rural part of Balochistan region killed a policeman who was assigned to protect the group, Samaa, a news organization based in Pakistan, reported. No polio vaccinators were hurt.

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