Half of Public Has Heard Little or Nothing About the New COVID-19 Booster Aimed at Omicron; Many Don’t Know If the CDC Recommends That They Get the New Booster

One Third of Adults, Including Nearly Half of Seniors, Say They’ve Either Gotten the New Booster or Intend to Do So ASAP

Nearly 1 in 5 Parents of Children Under 5 Say Their Child Has Gotten a Vaccine, up from 7% in July, Though Half Say They Will “Definitely Not” Get Their Child Vaccinated

Less than a month after the Food and Drug Administration authorized new COVID-19 booster shots that target both the omicron and original strains, public awareness is modest, a new KFF COVID-19 Vaccine Monitor survey finds.

Half the public says they’ve heard either “a lot” (17%) or “some” (33%) about the new boosters, while the other half says they’ve heard “a little” or “nothing at all.” Older adults (ages 65 and up), who tend to be at greater risk for serious COVID-19 complications, are most likely to know about the new booster.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended that all vaccinated adults and children ages 12 and up get the new bivalent vaccine, even if they received a previous booster. About half of vaccinated adults (49%) say that they know the new vaccine is recommended for people like them, two in five (40%) are not sure, and 11% say that it is not recommended.

Fielded just weeks after the new booster became available, the new survey shows that about a third (32%) of adults say that they’ve either gotten the new booster (5%) or intend to do so as soon as possible (27%). Among older adults (ages 65 and up), nearly half (45%) say they’ve already gotten the new booster (8%) or plan to get it as soon as possible (37%).

“America is not rushing out to get the new booster. Most are only dimly aware of it, which is not surprising in a country that seems to have mostly moved on,” KFF President and CEO Drew Altman said. “The exception may be older folks, who are at greater risk and early on are more interested in the new booster.”

Adult vaccination rates overall have been relatively steady over the past year. Nearly eight in ten (77%) now say they have gotten at least one dose of any COVID-19 vaccine, including about half who got at least one booster dose (47%), a quarter who have been fully vaccinated but have not gotten a booster (26%), and a few who are partially vaccinated (3%). In addition, 23% are unvaccinated, the vast majority of whom say they will “definitely not” get a shot (88% of the unvaccinated, or 21% of all adults).

Rising Share of Parents with Young Children Report Getting Them Vaccinated

The new survey finds about one in five (19%) parents with children ages 6 months through 4 years report getting their child a COVID-19 vaccine, up significantly since July (7%) soon after children in that age group became eligible.

At the same time, slightly more than half (53%) of parents of these young children say they will “definitely not” get their child a vaccine, also up from earlier this year.

Among other parents with children in this age range, 6% say they plan to vaccinate their children “right away,” 14% say they want to “wait and see” how it works for others, and 8% say they will get them vaccinated “only if required” for school or other activities.

The new survey also provides updated data on what parents of older children say about their vaccine intentions:

  • Almost half (46%) of parents with children ages 5-11 now report their child has gotten vaccinated, up a bit since earlier in this year. More than a third of these parents say they will “definitely not” get their child vaccinated.
  • About six in ten parents of teenagers, ages 12-17, say their child has been vaccinated (62%), while nearly a third (31%) say they will definitely not get their child vaccinated.

Designed and analyzed by public opinion researchers at KFF, the Vaccine Monitor survey was conducted from Sept 15-26, 2022, online and by telephone among a nationally representative sample of 1,534 U.S. adults, in English and in Spanish. The margin of sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points for the full sample. For results based on other subgroups, the margin of sampling error may be higher.

The KFF COVID-19 Vaccine Monitor is an ongoing research project tracking the public’s attitudes and experiences with COVID-19 vaccinations. Using a combination of surveys and qualitative research, this project tracks the dynamic nature of public opinion as vaccine development and distribution unfold, including vaccine confidence and acceptance, information needs, trusted messengers and messages, as well as the public’s experiences with vaccination.

 

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