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Self-reported health behaviors and risk perceptions following the COVID-19 vaccination rollout in the USA: an online survey study.

Thorpe A, Fagerlin A, Drews FA, Shoemaker H, Scherer LD. Self-reported health behaviors and risk perceptions following the COVID-19 vaccination rollout in the USA: an online survey study. Public Health. 2022 Jul 1; 208:68-71.

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OBJECTIVES: Concerns have been raised that mass vaccination campaigns might lead to reduced engagement with other recommended health behaviors. We assessed self-reported behaviors and risk perceptions following the COVID-19 vaccine rollout in the USA. STUDY DESIGN: Between December 2, 2020, and March 23, 2021, we conducted three online survey studies with US adult respondents. METHODS: Respondents self-reported their COVID-19 vaccination status, their frequency of engaging in risk-increasing behaviors and wearing a mask when in public places, and their COVID-19 risk perceptions (i.e., perceived likelihood of getting COVID-19 and of being hospitalized if they got COVID-19). RESULTS: Our analytical sample included 832 respondents who had completed the first and final surveys and had received either 0 or 2 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine. Most respondents were non-Hispanic White (75%), male (77%), and US Veterans (64%), with the median age between 55 and 74 years. Overall, respondents reported frequently wearing masks when in public and rarely engaging in risk-increasing behaviors. Regardless of vaccination status, respondents reported more frequently engaging in risk-increasing behaviors and lower risk perceptions in March 2021 than in December 2020. Mask wearing did not change over the study period, with vaccinated respondents consistently reporting more frequent mask wearing than unvaccinated respondents. CONCLUSIONS: Taken together, our findings indicate that the COVID-19 vaccine rollout in the USA did not result in the rapid abandonment of protective behaviors or dramatic uptake of risk-increasing behaviors. Additional studies are needed to monitor how mass vaccination might impact public behaviors and risk perceptions as coverage widens.

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