Vaccine hesitancy behind most decisions to not get COVID-19 vaccines

News brief

A new study in the American Journal of Epidemiology shows that for three out of every four Americans who were not vaccinated with COVID-19 vaccines by mid-2021, vaccine hesitancy was the main reason for their refusal to get vaccinated.

The study used data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Research and Development Survey, given to 5,458 US adults in May and June of 2021.The authors of the study wanted to calculate the adjusted population attribution fraction (PAF) of vaccine hesitancy.

In total, 40.7% of survey participants were hesitant and 67.2% were vaccinated. Through a series of questions, the authors found the adjusted PAF of non-vaccination attributed to vaccine hesitancy was 76.1%.


Vaccine hesitancy, which began to grow steadily in the US during the early 2000s with false claims that common childhood vaccines caused autism, soared again during the pandemic, as employee vaccine mandates became political footballs.

"This study found that the adjusted PAF of COVID-19 non-vaccination attributed to hesitancy (76.1%) is higher than the adjusted PAF of non-vaccination of routinely recommended vaccines attributed to hesitancy found in previous studies (which ranged from 6.5% to 31.3%),” the authors said.

Targeting hesitancy should be the main focus of any COVID-19 vaccines campaigns going forward, the authors said.

Explaining FDA approval process could increase RSV vaccine acceptance

News brief

A new study published by the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania and funded by the Robert Wood Johnson foundation shows that when people were shown a chart detailing the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) vaccine approval process, they were more likely to recommend the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) vaccine to pregnant friends and family.

The experiment took place during a May 31 through June 6, 2023, national panel survey of 1,601 adults on RSV, vaccination, and maternal health issues.

Though the FDA has yet to approve an RSV vaccine for use in pregnancy, recent approvals of vaccine candidates from GSK and Pfizer for adults aged 60 and up mean a candidate for use in pregnancy may be inevitable.pregnant woman vax

Among survey participants shown a flow chart detailing the FDA vaccine approval process, 57% said they would be very likely or somewhat likely to recommend an RSV vaccine to a pregnant person. Only 40% of participants in a control group not shown the chart said they would make the same recommendation. In a third group not shown a chart but told of the risks of RSV in early infancy, 58% said they would recommend the vaccine.

"The public would be well served if the press were to remind the public of this review process when a new vaccine is announced and vigilantly monitor it to ensure that it is doing its intended job well," said Kathleen Hall Jamieson, PhD, director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center and director of the survey, in a press release.  

RSV typically causes a cold-like illness for most healthy adults but can be severe in newborns. A vaccine administered in pregnancy would pass maternal antibodies to the newborn for up to 6 months, at which point the risk of severe RSV is significantly lower.

EU groups describe work-life impacts of COVID measures

News brief

The impact of COVID measures on work-life balance varied across different groups in European nations, according to an analysis released today by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions (Eurofound).

The groups looked at the impact of selected nonpharmaceutical interventions in 27 member states between March 2020 and May 2022. Among the findings, households with young children suffered more from stay-at-home measures and school closures and benefitted less than other groups from teleworking situations.stressed mom

On the other hand, people younger than 35, households without children, rural residents, and those living in northern European countries reported positive impacts from telecommuting.

Overall, telecommuting and school closures reduced the work pressures on personal and family life by decreasing working time and fatigue from work. However, stay-at-home measures and telecommuting increased adult worries about work during nonwork time and sometimes reduced concentration and dedicated working time due to juggling family responsibilities.

The groups made several recommendations based on the findings, including the need for more research on the impact of pandemic measures and to consider ways to reduce the negative impact for come measures on certain groups.

US reports a few more H5N1 avian flu detections in birds and mammals

News brief

In recent updates, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) reported a few more avian flu detections in poultry, wild birds, and mammals.

mountain lion
USFWS / Flickr cc

Poultry outbreaks have declined sharply since Mary, and officials reported a third recent outbreak at a live bird market in New York's Kings County, which includes Brooklyn. The most recent event occurred at a facility that had 990 birds.

Sporadic H5N1 detections in wild birds have continued over the summer, and since late July, the APHIS has reported five detections, all from western states and involving bald and golden eagles, a western gull, and a turkey vulture.

Officials also reported 2 more H5N1 detections mammals—a red fox from Pennsylvania and a mountain lion from Montana—raising the total to 200.


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