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Americans Wary of Tripledemic this Winter

Report tracks respiratory virus concerns, changing perspectives on childhood vaccines

December 29, 2022

The potential for children to get seriously ill from RSV, COVID-19, and the flu has been weighing heavily on the minds of many American parents this winter.

The Kaiser Family Foundation’s Vaccine Monitor tracks the public’s attitudes toward COVID-19 vaccines during the pandemic. The latest report highlights worries about the so-called “tripledemic,” with about half of parents saying they are concerned their child will get seriously sick from COVID-19 or the flu, and 56 percent saying they had similar concerns about RSV.

“As the country faces a 'tripledemic,' with a surge in flu and RSV cases accompanying the rise in COVID-19 cases, many parents are now concerned about not one, but all three of these viruses,” the monitor notes.

Here are five key takeaways from the latest Vaccine Monitor:

  • Young children:  About 73 percent of parents with children under the age of 5 are concerned their children could become seriously sick from RSV.
  • Flu vaccine:  While half of parents say they are concerned about their child getting sick with the flu, only a third of parents say their child has received a flu shot this season.
  • Childhood vaccines: Most adults (85%) of adults see the value of childhood vaccinations to prevent measles, mumps, and rubella.
    • About 71 percent of respondents say that healthy children should be required to get MMR vaccines to attend public school, down 11 percentage points from 2019
  • The bivalent booster:  About four in ten adults say they have received the bivalent COVID-19 booster dose (22%) or plan to get the new booster as soon as possible (16%)
    • The top reasons people have not yet received the bivalent booster were that they didn’t think they needed it (44%); they did not think the benefit was worth it (37%); or they have been too busy or have not had time (36%).
  • Quotable:  “While confidence in the benefits of childhood MMR vaccines remains high, the debate over COVID-19 vaccine mandates may have had some spillover effects on attitudes towards requiring MMR vaccines for children attending public school,” the monitor notes.

The latest monitor was conducted from November 29 through Dec. 8 and included a representative sample of American adults.

The report is available to review online.