Acceptance of COVID-19 vaccines increased 20% in the past year in the United States, with 8 in 10 people now saying they have been vaccinated or are willing to do so, according to results of a new global survey.
The changing attitudes bring the U.S. in line with vaccine acceptance in other major countries. For both vaccines and boosters, acceptance was defined in the survey as receiving at least one dose or willingness to take one when available.
France, India, and Nigeria also showed dramatic increases in vaccine acceptance. India, China, and Singapore reported the highest rates of vaccine acceptance, with 98.3% of Indians saying they were vaccinated or willing to do so.
Despite improvement in acceptance rates, the authors expressed concern about global perspectives on boosters, misinformation fueling vaccine hesitancy, and the high rate that people reported using ivermectin, which is commonly used to treat parasites in animals and not approved to treat COVID.
"The most promising finding of the 2022 global survey is that COVID-19 vaccine acceptance has continued to rise in most countries studied, reaching 79.1% overall," the authors wrote. "However, the wide variability of acceptance rates that we report could jeopardize efforts to control the pandemic."
The survey included 23,000 people from 23 countries that represent nearly 60% of the world's population. Responses were collected from June 29 to July 10, 2022. This is the third year the study has been done. It was published Monday in the journal Nature Medicine .
Booster acceptance in the U.S. was also on par with worldwide responses, around 87%.
While boosters have recently been the primary focus in the U.S., where 92% of people ages 18 and older have at least one vaccine dose, only 18% of adults have received the most updated booster shot, according to CDC data.
Other U.S. attitudes reported by the study included:
29% say they pay less attention to new COVID information, compared to a year ago.
67% said they prefer to prevent COVID by getting vaccinated, while 11% said they prefer not to use vaccines or prescription medications and instead treat COVID "at home with sleep, fluids, Tylenol, etc."
23% are less likely to get vaccines because they think the disease has gotten less severe.
People who were hesitant about getting vaccines had lower education levels, expressed mistrust in science and government, and believed misinformation, the authors said.
Among global respondents, nearly 37% said they or a family member had COVID in the past year, and about 1 in 4 people took a medication to treat the illness, such as antivirals like Paxlovid or monoclonal antibodies. Worldwide, 27% of people who took medication said they used ivermectin, and in the U.S., nearly 12% of people said they used it.
"Our respondents reported the use of ivermectin as frequently as the use of approved medications and products, despite the fact that ivermectin is not recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) and other leading agencies to prevent or treat COVID-19," the authors wrote. "Further efforts will be required to discourage the use of ivermectin and other pharmaceuticals with no proven efficacy and potential toxicity."
Nature Medicine: "A survey of COVID-19 vaccine acceptance across 23 countries in 2022."
CDC: "COVID-19 Vaccinations in the United States."
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Cite this: COVID Vaccine Acceptance Sees Dramatic Increase in US: Survey - Medscape - Jan 10, 2023.