Early COVID-19 Vaccine Hesitancy Characteristics in Mothers Following Bariatric Surgery.Obes Surg. 2022 03; 32(3):852-860.OS
Obesity has played a central role in heightened coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) risk and vaccine response. COVID-19 vaccine intention among those with a history of severe obesity, specifically those who have undergone bariatric surgery, has not been described. This study aims to examine early COVID-19 vaccine intention among mothers with a history of severe obesity who underwent bariatric surgery.
Sixty-four mothers (Mage = 39.3 years) who underwent bariatric surgery (Mtime since surgery = 19.6 months) completed surveys online (November 2020-February 2021). Information obtained included their COVID-19 vaccine intention (vaccine ready, undecided, vaccine opposed). Analyses examined group differences in demographics, body mass index (BMI = kg/m2), knowledge of obesity-related COVID-19 risk, flu vaccination history, general beliefs about vaccine safety/effectiveness, and factors increasing confidence/motivation to obtain a COVID-19 vaccine.
Thirty-six (56.3%) mothers had severe obesity (≥ Class II [BMI = ≥ 35 kg/m2]). The majority were vaccine hesitant (undecided [n = 28; 43.8%]; vaccine opposed [n = 15; 23.4%]). Compared to the vaccine-ready group, vaccine-hesitant groups were younger (p < .05). For the vaccine opposed, recent flu vaccination rates (p = .012) and general belief that vaccines are safe (p = .028) were lower than expected. Among hesitant participants, no reported side effects and the health of self and others were endorsed as top factors increasing vaccine confidence and motivation respectively.
While preliminary, the prominence of early vaccine hesitancy in this sample of mothers who have undergone bariatric surgery, with most persisting with severe obesity, indicates a subgroup at high risk. Factors to address through targeted messaging and intervention were identified.