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JABSOM Researchers Find Parallels Between Education and Vaccine, Booster Hesitancy

Date: September 15th, 2022 in Collaboration, Community Outreach, COVID-19, Faculty, JABSOM News, Research, UH Manoa    Print or PDF

Take the shot or wait? That’s the question we all face as each vaccine rolls out.

As the new bivalent COVID-19 booster becomes widely available, timely research done by University of Hawaii researchers found vaccine hesitancy is associated with education and level of trust in COVID-19 information.

John A. Burns School of Medicine researchers, Dr. May Okihiro, Dr. Krit Phankitnirundorn, Dr. Alika Maunakea, and others from the University of Hawaii and the Waianae Coast Comprehensive Health Center recently published their findings in the journal Vaccine published by the Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute (MDPI).

They analyzed the behaviors of 1594 people during the Delta and Omicron wave of COVID-19.
They found individuals vaccinated within two months of eligibility (early vaccinees) tended to have more years of schooling, with greater trust in and consumption of official sources of COVID-19 information, compared to those who waited 3–6 months (late vaccinees), or those who remained unvaccinated at 6 months post-eligibility (non-vaccinees).
Most (70.1%) early vaccinees took the booster shot, compared to only 30.5% of late vaccinees, with the latter group gaining trust after four months.

Researchers found that those who increased their trust in and consumption of official information sources were more likely to receive a booster. Social factors, including education and individual-level degree of confidence in sources of COVID-19 information, interacted and changed over time in association with vaccine and booster uptakes.

The rapid turn-around, high reward grant supporting this work was made possible through the National Institutes of Health (NIH) RADx® Underserved Populations (RADx-UP) program, explicitly dedicated for COVID-19 research. RADx-UP participation was open to Hawaii’s investigators because of affiliations with other NIH funded projects (like Ola HAWAII).

Read the full study here:


JABSOM student delivers vaccine. Photo by Deborah Dimaya.

Matthew Campbell, Director of Communications

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