Introduction: As of June 2021, three vaccines have been issued Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to combat SARS-CoV-2. However, vaccine hesitancy rates have remained steady with 10.2% of Americans stating they probably not get a vaccine, and 8.2% stating they would definitely not get a vaccine. Thus, we evaluated the current reasons for COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy among the unvaccinated U.S. population.
Methods: Amazon Mechanical Turk (MTurk) was used to survey the unvaccinated U.S. adult population between June 30 - July 1, 2021. The survey was available to complete for individuals above the age of 18 located in the United States who never received any COVID-19 vaccine at any time. The anonymous 32-question survey focused on identifying perceptions toward COVID-19 vaccination and potential factors that may encourage uptake. Demographic information such as age, race/ethnicity, and relationship status were collected for analysis.
Results: A total of 914 adults responded to our survey with 53% of respondents identifying as cis-male and 42% as cis-female. When assessing reasons why individuals have elected against vaccination, we found that 58% are worried about unknown long term adverse effects (Figure 1A). Of these, 41% believed the ‘COVID-19 vaccines can negatively impact reproductive health and or fertility, and 38% were unsure of the effects on fertility (Figure 1B). In addition, 48% of all unvaccinated respondents said additional information and research conducted on COVID-19 vaccines would encourage vaccination while only 11% of them claimed that financial incentives would encourage them.
Conclusions: Using Amazon MTurk, we demonstrated that fertility concerns constitute a significant barrier to vaccine uptake among the unvaccinated U.S. population. In addition, we found that more information and research conducted on the COVID-19 vaccines would encourage vaccination among all unvaccinated respondent in addition to those fearful of fertility side effects. Such information may be of immense use to public health officials in promoting COVID-19 vaccine uptake and protecting the U.S. population amidst this global pandemic.
Source of Funding: This research was funded in part by the Miami Andrology Research Scholars (MARS) program.