According to results of the latest Mount Sinai South Nassau “Truth in Medicine Poll,” only 15 percent of area residents have received the updated Covid-19 vaccine. Although 70 percent of 600 residents surveyed agreed that vaccines are important to their health, a majority of respondents had not acted yet to receive the updated Covid-19 vaccine that was approved last month for people ages six months and older by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration.
The Truth in Medicine poll is a survey of Long Island and New York City adult residents that aims to gather data about attitudes on key public health topics and help spur education to improve public health. The poll was conducted October 1-6 through both landlines and cell phones with 600 residents in New York City and on Long Island.
“Getting vaccinated against the flu and Covid-19 is an essential step to take in protecting individual and community health,” said Linda Armyn, president and chief executive officer of Bethpage Federal Credit Union, who sponsored the poll. “It is a safe, effective, and socially responsible action that can help prevent serious illness, protect vulnerable populations, and contribute to a healthier society.”
While 51 percent of respondents said their children have received at least one Covid-19 vaccine since it became available, only 29 percent of the parents polled said they are planning to have their children get the updated vaccine. The main reasons offered by respondents who will pass on getting the Covid-19 vaccine include that “they don’t think they need it” or “don’t think that it is effective.” Experts caution that this attitude is a recipe for community spread of the virus and a rapid increase in the number of moderate-to-severe cases of Covid-19.
“I encourage all eligible individuals to discuss with their doctor whether they need to get the updated vaccine. In general, though, I recommend that individuals who are especially vulnerable, including immunocompromised individuals of any age, pregnant women, and adults older than 65 who have not recently had Covid-19 or received a bivalent booster, get the new vaccine as soon as possible to protect against a severe case of the disease,” said Aaron Glatt, chair of the department of medicine and chief of infectious diseases at Mount Sinai South Nassau.
The official CDC recommendation is to wait to get the updated booster for a minimum of two months after your last immunization and three months if you had a Covid virus infection recently.
“Unfortunately, the vaccine has become a political issue for some, and that may be having an impact on the willingness of area residents to get the updated vaccine,” said Adhi Sharma, president, of Mount Sinai South Nassau. “But this is about science, not politics. And the science is clear. Both the updated Covid-19 and flu vaccines help keep people out of the hospital and save lives. There is no better way to protect your family as the flu and winter seasons are upon us.”