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Mount Sinai South Nassau “Truth in Medicine” Poll: Only 15 Percent of Area Residents Have Received Updated COVID-19 Vaccine

Posted: Oct. 30, 2023
Mount Sinai South Nassau “Truth in Medicine” Poll: Only 15 Percent of Area Residents Have Received Updated COVID-19 Vaccine

Only 15 percent of area residents have received the updated COVID-19 vaccine, according to results of the latest Mount Sinai South Nassau “Truth in Medicine Poll,” sponsored by Bethpage Credit Union.

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 6 months and older by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Other notable poll results include:

  • Seventy-five percent of respondents have received one COVID-19 vaccine and 76 percent of that group have received at least one booster. 
  • However, only 39 percent now say they are planning to get the updated COVID-19 shot; 25 percent do not plan to get it, and 22 percent are undecided.
  • Of those not planning to receive the vaccine, 24 percent don’t think they need it; 20 percent do not think it is effective; and 13 percent think there are too many vaccines.
  • By comparison, 63 percent of all respondents typically get a flu vaccine and 61 percent plan to get one this year.

The Truth in Medicine Poll results for Long Island and New York City mirror those of national polls that indicate a vaccine fatigue among many, which may be impacting people’s willingness to receive another shot.

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 new COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna target currently circulating variants and provide better protection against serious illness. The main reasons offered by respondents who will pass on getting the COVID-19 vaccine include “they don’t think they need it” or “don’t think that it is effective.” This is even though 27 percent of respondents have a health condition that puts them at greater risk for severe COVID-19.

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 E. Glatt, MD, 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 2 months after your last immunization and 3 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, MD, President, 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.”

According to the CDC, immunizations and vaccines are among the top 10 public health accomplishments of the twentieth century, significantly reducing the incidence of many serious infectious diseases for patients of all ages.

As for the flu vaccine, 63 percent of all respondents typically get a flu vaccine and 61 percent plan to get one this year. One-quarter of those who do not plan to get a flu vaccine said they don’t think it is safe. All versions of the flu vaccine for the 2023-2024 season are designed to protect against four different flu viruses, including two influenza A and two influenza B viruses. The vaccine is available to all individuals six months and older, and the CDC recommends that people ages six months and older get a flu shot by the end of October. However, getting the vaccine after October will still provide protection.

According to the CDC, influenza activity in the nation during the 2022-23 season (October 2, 2022-September 9, 2023) was moderately severe and was similar to pre-COVID-19 levels but occurred earlier than usual. Preliminary estimates by the CDC show that between October 1, 2022, and April 30, 2023, there were approximately 19,000-58,000 deaths from influenza and about 300,000-650,000 hospital admissions associated with the disease—the highest numbers since the 2017-2018 season.

Although 69 percent of respondents say vaccines are important to their health, only 43 percent maintain a regular vaccination schedule. Of those polled, Hispanic men are more likely than Hispanic women to express hesitancy toward COVID-19 vaccination. Vaccination rates are 5 percent higher in New York City than Long Island. Surprisingly, more than 80 percent of respondents aged 18-34 have had a COVID-19 vaccine, the highest of any age cohort.

Vaccines are especially important for seniors. The FDA recently approved Arexy, the first-ever vaccine against respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). The vaccination protects adults aged 60 and older against RSV, yet only 29 percent of seniors have heard of the vaccine and 27 percent say they would consider getting it.  This compares to 67 percent of respondents aged 65 and up who typically get a flu vaccine and 72 percent who have had a COVID-19 vaccine.

Sponsored by Bethpage Credit Union, 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 via both landlines and cell phones with 600 residents in New York City and on Long Island. Poll findings are subject to a sampling error of plus or minus 3.9 percent.

“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, Bethpage Federal Credit Union. “It is a safe, effective, and socially responsible action that can help prevent serious illness, protect vulnerable populations, and contribute to a healthier society.”

The Truth in Medicine Poll is component of Mount Sinai South Nassau’s mission of improving education around critical public health issues. The poll was conducted by a nationally recognized, independent polling firm, LJR Custom Strategies, with offices in Washington, D.C., and New Orleans. LJR has conducted more than 2,000 studies for a broad spectrum of health care, business, education, cultural, and political clients in almost every state in the country and around the world.

Mount Sinai South Nassau began conducting the public health poll in January 2017. Previous polls have focused on holiday stress, the human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccine, legalization of recreational marijuana, vaccines and supplements, antibiotic use and misuse, screen time, and others. For more information about the polls, please visit www.southnassau.org/sn/truth-in-medicine.

Getting the COVID-19 or flu vaccine is as simple as scheduling an appointment with Mount Sinai South Nassau’s Vaxmobile. In partnership with the Town of Hempstead, the Vaxmobile’s upcoming schedule includes visits to the following senior centers from 10 am to 2 pm:

10/30 - Uniondale-Hempstead Senior Center, 840 Uniondale Avenue, Uniondale
10/31 - Bellmore Senior Center, 2000 Bellmore Avenue, Bellmore

11/1 - Uniondale-Merrick Senior Center, 750 Jerusalem Avenue, Uniondale
11/7 - Lido Senior Center, The Sands, Lido Beach Town Park, 630 Lido Boulevard, Suite 2
11/8 - Merrick Senior Center, 2550 Clubhouse Road, Merrick

To find out when the Vaxmobile will be in your community, call Mount Sinai South Nassau Community Education at (516) 377-5333 or send an email to vaxmobile@snch.org.

About Mount Sinai South Nassau
Designated a Magnet® hospital by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) for outstanding nursing care, Mount Sinai South Nassau is one of the region’s largest hospitals, with 455 beds, more than 900 physicians and 3,500 employees. Located in Oceanside, New York, the hospital is an acute-care, not-for-profit teaching hospital that provides state-of-the-art care in cardiac, oncologic, orthopedic, bariatric, pain management, mental health, and emergency services.

In addition to its extensive outpatient specialty centers, Mount Sinai South Nassau provides emergency and elective angioplasty, and offers Novalis Tx™ and Gamma Knife® radiosurgery technologies. Mount Sinai South Nassau operates the only Trauma Center on the South Shore of Nassau County verified by the American College of Surgeons as well as Long Island’s only free-standing, 9-1-1 receiving Emergency Department in Long Beach. Mount Sinai South Nassau also is a designated Stroke Center by the New York State Department of Health and Comprehensive Community Cancer Center by the American College of Surgeons; is an accredited center of the Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Association and Quality Improvement Program; and an Infectious Diseases Society of America Antimicrobial Stewardship Center of Excellence.

Accredited by The Joint Commission, an independent peer review organization that conducts rigorous and unannounced, on-site surveys of the hospital, Mount Sinai South Nassau holds Joint Commission Gold Seal of Approval™ Certification in eight specialties: Heart Failure, Primary Stroke Center, Joint Replacement Hip, Joint Replacement Knee, Bariatric Surgery, Wound Care, End-Stage Renal Disease and Perinatal Care. For more information, go to www.mountsinai.org/southnassau.