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As COVID vaccine boosters move closer to reality, most physicians and nurses are ready and willing to get another shot in the arm, according to a new Medscape survey.
Altogether, 93% of physicians and 87% of nurses/advanced practice nurses (APNs) said they wanted to get a booster, although the timing of when they wanted the shots differed somewhat between the two groups surveyed August 4-15.
Among the 732 physicians polled by Medscape, 50% wanted to get their shot immediately, compared with 38% of the 1193 nurses/APNs who responded, while 44% of physicians and 50% of nurses/APNs said that they would wait until the vaccine booster was authorized and recommended.
At this point in time, almost all of the healthcare workers surveyed — 98% of physicians and 94% of nurses/APNs — have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19. A small proportion of each group, however, received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine (1% of physicians and 3% of nurses) and are not included in the current plan for booster shots.
The Medscape survey sample did include one group that is already eligible for a third dose: about 20% of physicians and 26% of nurses/ANPs said they have a condition or take a medication that compromises their immune system.
Respondents’ experiences with patient requests for boosters suggest a somewhat lower level of interest. About two thirds of the healthcare workers (69% of physicians and 63% of nurses) said that patients frequently or sometimes asked about COVID boosters, compared with 13% (physicians) and 19% (nurses) who said their patients had never asked.
Interest Lower Among General Population
In a separate survey conducted among WebMD readers, 82% of those who have been at least partially vaccinated said they want to get a COVID vaccine booster (14% immediately and 68% after authorization and recommendation). Of the remaining vaccinees, 7% said they do not want to get a booster and 11% were unsure.
The full sample of 592 respondents surveyed August 5-10, however, included 19% who do not plan to get vaccinated and 6% who are planning to be vaccinated but have not yet done so.
The proportion of immunocompromised individuals in the two survey groups was similar, with about 25% of WebMD readers reporting they have a condition or take a medication that compromises their immune system. Those respondents were more than twice as likely to want to get a booster immediately, compared to those with an uncompromised immune system (24% vs 11%).
The distribution of vaccines received by brand was also comparable between the two groups surveyed. Of healthcare workers and readers, over half of each group received the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine (59% vs 54%), followed by Moderna (38% vs 40%) and Johnson & Johnson (3% vs 5%).