Harvard Department of Health Policy and Management PhD, Gillian K. SteelFisher, authored a study published in JAMA Network, the monthly open access medical journal published by the American Medical Association, entitled "Divergent Attitudes Toward COVID-19 Vaccine vs Influenza Vaccine".
The study examined attitudes toward COVID-19 and influenza vaccines.
The resulting data comes from a survey conducted July 7 to 16, 2023, among a nationally representative, probability-based sample of US adults aged 18 years or older who were asked about their attitudes toward COVID-19 and influenza vaccine effectiveness and safety, vaccination intentions, and major reasons for hesitancy.
Among 3,232 invited participants, 1,430 (44%) completed the survey.
Approximately 40% of respondents believed that flu vaccines were very effective, while 42% felt that covid vaccines were very effective.
When it comes to safety, 55% of respondents believed flu vaccines were very safe, compared to just 41% who felt covid vaccines were very safe.
When asked about the likelihood of getting an updated flu shot for the 2023/2024 flu season, 49% of respondents said they were very likely. Though when asked the same question about updated covid shots, just 36% said they were very likely to get the updated booster shot.
Respondents who were considered to have "weaker vaccine intentions" (i.e., answered Somewhat likely, Not too likely, or Not at all likely in Table 1) were subsequently asked about the reasons for their "vaccine hesitancy".
This is where the results get interesting.
A majority of respondents (60%) wanted to see more research done on covid shots, while just 24% wanted to see more research on flu shots.
Twice as many respondents were concerned about covid shot safety (51%) than flu shot safety (24%).
Less than half of respondents (45%) trust government agencies when they promote covid shots, but nearly three quarters (73%) trust the same government agencies when they promote flu shots.
The bottom line is that more people are hesitant about COVID-19 shots than flu shots, so the authors conclude that, "health professionals should expect limited demand for COVID-19 vaccines and moderate interest in influenza vaccines."
The study also recommends that vaccinators who administer both flu and covid shots "should lead with the more popular influenza vaccine" and work to build trust on covid vaccines.
Instead of recommending that vaccine makers address product safety concerns, for instance, the study concluded that it is essential to "address nuances in public opinion to promote vaccine uptake this season and beyond."
Funding for this study was provided by a cooperative agreement between the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO), with a subcontract to the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health (HSPH).
So it's not surprising that the conclusion is to "promote vaccine uptake" rather than to "address nuances" like the how 78% of all deaths recorded in CDC's Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) are attributed to covid vaccines that received authorization in the middle of December 2020.