Study: Individuals Who Knew Someone With COVID-19 Are More Likely to Get Vaccinated

Approximately 48.1% of those who received vaccines had family members or friends who were either sick or recovered from the illness compared with 26.9% who were unvaccinated.

Individuals who knew someone who had COVID-19 or died from the disease were more likely to receive at least 1 vaccine dose, according to the results of a study published in Vaccine.

Investigators included 1517 individuals who were surveyed between April 7 and April 12, 2021. Just 1193 were eligible for the vaccine when the data were collected.

Individuals who responded to the survey were asked if they received at least 1 dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. They were also asked if they knew family members or friends who had recovered from COVID-19, were still sick, or died from the disease. They could also select multiple options.

Investigators used the responses to create binary independent variables, reflecting those who were sick, those who recovered, or those who died from COVID-19.

Covariates were also included, such as age, education, employment, health insurance coverage, income, sex, and more.

Additionally, investigators adjusted for those who were essential workers, because they had access to vaccines sooner and were more likely to know someone who had been exposed to COVID-19. The essential workers included frontline health care workers, grocery store personnel, first responders, and more.

Investigators also linked the US Census data for county population and COVID-19 deaths between January 2020 and March 2021.

Approximately 48.1% of those who were vaccinated knew someone who were either sick or recovered from COVID-19 compared with 26.9% who were unvaccinated.

Further, approximately 9.2% of those who were vaccinated knew someone who died from COVID-19 compared with 4.8% who were not vaccinated.

In addition, investigators noticed that those who were essential workers and individuals who in good health were also more likely to receive a vaccine dose within 4 months after the Emergency Use Authorization (EUA).

They also determined that older individuals and those with higher education levels and income were also more likely to receive at least 1 dose.

By contrast, those who were uninsured, were Alaskan natives, or indigenous Americans were significantly less likely to receive the vaccine dose within 4 months after the EUA.

Individuals who lived in lower-income households, those with lower education levels, and younger adults were also less likely to be vaccinated within 4 months of the EUA.

Study results highlight the need for increased efforts of vaccination uptake for populations that are more likely to not have received 1 dose of the vaccination, investigators said.

Study limitations included the use of self-reported, which can be subject to biases. Additionally, the sample has limited generalizability to the US adult population.

Furthermore, data on COVID-19 illness severity was unavailable, so investigators were not able to determine the effects of long COVID.


Kalra S, Kalra D, Grafova I, Rubin JS, et al. Association of death or illness from COVID-19 among family and friends on vaccine uptake within four months of the Emergency Use Authorization. Findings from a national survey in the United States. Vaccine. 2023;S0264-410X(23)00035-X. doi:10.1016/j.vaccine.2023.01.024

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