COVID-19 vaccine perceptions and uptake in a national prospective cohort of essential workers

Karen Lutrick, Holly Groom, Ashley L. Fowlkes, Kimberly D. Groover, Manjusha Gaglani, Patrick Rivers, Allison L. Naleway, Kimberly Nguyen, Meghan Herring, Kayan Dunnigan, Andrew Phillips, Joel Parker, Julie Mayo Lamberte, Khaila Prather, Matthew S. Thiese, Zoe Baccam, Harmony Tyner, Sarang Yoon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Introduction: In a multi-center prospective cohort of essential workers, we assessed knowledge, attitudes, and practices (KAP) by vaccine intention, prior SARS-CoV-2 positivity, and occupation, and their impact on vaccine uptake over time. Methods: Initiated in July 2020, the HEROES-RECOVER cohort provided socio-demographics and COVID-19 vaccination data. Using two follow-up surveys approximately three months apart, COVID-19 vaccine KAP, intention, and receipt was collected; the first survey categorized participants as reluctant, reachable, or endorser. Results: A total of 4,803 participants were included in the analysis. Most (70%) were vaccine endorsers, 16% were reachable, and 14% were reluctant. By May 2021, 77% had received at least one vaccine dose. KAP responses strongly predicted vaccine uptake, particularly positive attitudes about safety (aOR = 5.46, 95% CI: 1.4–20.8) and effectiveness (aOR = 5.0, 95% CI: 1.3–19.1). Participants’ with prior SARS-CoV-2 infection were 22% less likely to believe the COVID-19 vaccine was effective compared with uninfected participants (aOR 0.78, 95% CI: 0.64–0.96). This was even more pronounced in first responders compared with other occupations, with first responders 42% less likely to believe in COVID-19 vaccine effectiveness (aOR = 0.58, 95% CI 0.40–0.84). Between administrations of the two surveys, 25% of reluctant, 56% reachable, and 83% of endorser groups received the COVID-19 vaccine. The reachable group had large increases in positive responses for questions about vaccine safety (10% of vaccinated, 34% of unvaccinated), and vaccine effectiveness (12% of vaccinated, 27% of unvaccinated). Discussion: Our study demonstrates attitudes associated with COVID-19 vaccine uptake and a positive shift in attitudes over time. First responders, despite potential high exposure to SARS-CoV-2, and participants with a history of SARS-CoV-2 infection were more vaccine reluctant. Conclusions: Perceptions of the COVID-19 vaccine can shift over time. Targeting messages about the vaccine's safety and effectiveness in reducing SARS-CoV-2 virus infection and illness severity may increase vaccine uptake for reluctant and reachable participants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)494-502
Number of pages9
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 24 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • veterinary(all)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases


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