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The Early Response to the Updated COVID-19 Booster

KFF survey reveals differences across age demographics

October 05, 2022

Public awareness about the updated COVID-19 booster shot was “modest” during September, with a third of all U.S. adults reporting that they had received the updated shot or were planning to get it as soon as possible.

The latest Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) Vaccine Monitor indicates about half of the public has heard “a lot” (17%) or “some” (33%) about the new boosters, but others were unclear about whether they were eligible to receive it.

The KFF survey was conducted from September 15 through September 26, a few weeks after the federal authorization of the booster shots targeting the original COVID-19 strain and Omicron BA.4/.5 subvariants.

“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,” said Drew Altman, president and CEO of the Kaiser Family Foundation. “The exception may be older folks, who are at greater risk and early on are more interested in the new booster.”

The CDC recommends the new booster for all vaccinated adults, with an emphasis on people 50 and older. Here are five things to know from the KFF survey:

  • Modest awareness:  About 51 percent of respondents indicated they had heard “little” or “nothing at all” about the updated boosters.
  • Uncertain status:  About 4 in 10 fully vaccinated adults say they are not sure if the CDC has recommended the updated booster for people like them.
  • Vaccine hesitancy:  About a third of adults plan to or already have received the updated booster. About 18 percent plan to wait and see before getting the new booster; 10 percent will get it “only if required,”; and 12 percent will “definitely not” get the updated dose.
  • Older adults:  Those 65 and older are the strongest early adopters of the new booster with 45 percent saying they have received the booster or will get it as soon as possible.
  • Update on pediatric vaccination:  About 53 percent of parents of children between 6 months and 5 years old say they will “definitely not” get their child vaccinated. About 25 percent of parents of children in this age demographic say their child already has received the vaccine or will get it right away.

About 62 percent of parents of children between 12 and 17 say their child has been vaccinated. Another 31 percent report that they definitely will not get their child vaccinated, the survey notes.

The Vaccine Monitor tracks the public’s attitudes about COVID-19 vaccinations. The survey included a representative sample of U.S. adults in English and Spanish.

The survey is available to review online.