Health Canal Survey: Why Older Adults are Hesitant to Receive the Bivalent Booster Shot

02 May 2023 | Tuesday | News

New survey by Health Canal reveals that personal health and safety concerns drive older adults' intentions and attitudes toward bivalent booster shots

The CDC has recommended the bivalent mRNA COVID-19 vaccines since September 2022, yet only 42.4 percent of older adults have received the updated vaccine.

The FDA's recent update to the bivalent COVID-19 booster authorizations allows those ages 65 and older to receive a second dose four months after the initial bivalent shot.

With lower uptake rates of the bivalent vaccine, a new survey conducted by Health Canal has revealed older adults' intentions and attitudes towards it, shedding light on their hesitancy to receive it.

Data analysis found that personal health and safety concerns were the primary factors in older adults' decisions to get the new booster. The results also highlighted potential gaps in public knowledge regarding the risks associated with getting the vaccine versus not and the potential for side effects.

More than half (57.19%) of older adults said they were likely to get the booster — but this does not mean they will follow through with it.

The top five reasons to get the bivalent booster shot included:

  1. To protect against the new omicron variant (88.89%)
  2. To protect against severe illness due to COVID-19 (69.97%)
  3. To protect others (63.02%)
  4. To prevent long-term symptoms of COVID-19 (60.86%)
  5. Following the recommendation of the CDC to get the booster dose (53.82%)

The top five reasons not to get the bivalent booster shot included:

  1. Not knowing if the newly formulated vaccine was safe (40.73%)
  2. Concern over potential side effects (31.05%)
  3. Skepticism about the new formula's effectiveness (27.82%)
  4. The belief that they still have strong protection against COVID-19 (29.44%)
  5. The belief that they still have strong protection against severe illness due to COVID-19 (20.56%)

"These findings are timely as we move toward a post-pandemic world," said Kelsey Costa, MS, RDN and Health Research Consultant for Health Canal. "It's important to bridge any existing information gap by providing more detailed vaccine safety and side effects information so individuals can make informed decisions about their health care."


The survey was conducted online over 24 hours, collecting responses from 1,113 individuals aged 65 and older in the United States. Limitations of the survey include its sample size and the period covered; most participants self-identified as white; CaliforniaFlorida, and Texas had the highest representation among states; and technology access may have impacted participation.

Despite these limitations, the survey results offer valuable insights into the intentions and attitudes of older adults concerning vaccination with the updated bivalent booster shot.

Read the full report here:

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