Study: Minority Acceptance of Combo Flu-COVID Vaccine Higher than for COVID Vaccine Alone

A new study indicates that minority acceptance of a combination influenza-COVID-19 vaccine is higher than for a COVID vaccine alone. The study was led by Penn State, and published in the journal Vaccine.

“Millions of people in the United States remain unvaccinated to COVID-19 due to persistent vaccine hesitancy,” said Robert Lennon, associate professor of family and community medicine, College of Medicine, Penn State via a press release. “As new variants continue to emerge, hospitalizations and deaths will continue to have a disproportionate impact on minority individuals given historic disparities in health care access and quality. It is critical to improve access to and education about vaccines for these individuals.”

In this analysis, researchers collaborated with the African American Research Collaborative (AARC), an organization dedicated to bringing an accurate understanding of African American civic engagement to the public discourse. In concert, the team developed a survey and conducted a national telephone and online poll of more than 12,887 U.S. minority adults — including Latino/a/X, Black/African American, Asian American or Pacific Islander, Native American/American Indian and White. The study was conducted from May 7-June 7, 2021.

The investigators assessed acceptance of an annual COVID shot by asking participants, “Some medical professionals think COVID-19 vaccines may need to be taken annually, similar to the seasonal flu vaccine. Would you say (a) I would definitely take an updated COVID-19 vaccine once per year, (b) I might take an updated COVID-19 vaccine each year or (c) I would not take an updated COVID-19 vaccine each year.”

They measured combination COVID-19-flu vaccine acceptable was posing the question, “Would you be willing to take a combination COVID-19-flu vaccine as one shot every year to protect yourself from both COVID-19 and influenza? (a) yes, (b) no or (c) don’t know/unsure.”

According to the results, 45% of respondents said that they have, will certainly or will most likely get a COVID-19 vaccine, while 58% said they would get an influenza vaccine. For a combination influenza-COVID-19 vaccine, overall acceptance was 50%.

“It is interesting that acceptance was higher for the combination vaccine than for the COVID-19 vaccine,” said Ray Block, Brown-McCourtney Career Development Professor in the McCourtney Institute and associate professor of political science and African American studies, Penn State. “This may be due to the convenience of getting two vaccines in one visit or even concern over increased exposure during two visits compared to one. I think we could get some people who are hesitant to consider getting vaccinated if they know they can do them both at the same time.”