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COVID-19 vaccine beliefs among military members and other Department of Defense beneficiaries

  • Program: Veterans Caucus
  • Background: The Department of Defense (DoD) Military Health System (MHS) leadership strives to understand beneficiary health-related behaviors to inform the delivery of patient-centered care within a high-quality health system. With the COVID-19 pandemic continuing to impact MHS beneficiaries, understand their beliefs about the vaccine and opinion change over time is very important. Methodology: This study examines COVID-19 vaccine acceptance and hesitancy among DoD beneficiaries using data from the Health Care Survey of DoD Beneficiaries (HCSDB) for four surveys across 2021 and 2022. The HCSDB is a representative survey with approximately N=26,000 completed surveys annually. It collects information beneficiary opinions about their health, ease of access to health care, health insurance coverage over the previous 12 months, and current health-related topics of interest. Specifically, we examined responses to several COVID-19 related questions on vaccine acceptance, knowledge, perceptions, and support for the vaccine-mandate among Active Duty Service Members. Data are examined by beneficiary category (Active Duty, Active Duty family members, retirees, and retiree dependents), gender, and age for cross-population comparison, and over time. A binary logistic regression was modeled predicting likelihood of vaccination. This analysis incorporates survey design characteristics and population weights to ensure the model resembles the TRICARE beneficiary population. Results: Overall, vaccine refusal intentions decreased from 18% in FY 2021 Q2 to 15% in Q3. Personal beliefs, such as trust in the health care system, were strongly associated with intentions to vaccinate. Other top predictors of vaccine intentions include refusing a previous vaccine, trusting the health care system, and concerns about side effects. Trend analyses for FY 2022 data are in-progress. Conclusion: Findings from this study provide valuable insights for future MHS public health messaging to ensure all patients have the accurate information needed to inform their health care decisions. With continued competing information about the pandemic and vaccines, it is critical that the MHS actively engages with TRICARE beneficiaries to provide reliable, scientific information and targeted messaging about the efficacy and safety of vaccines.
Gliner Melissa
Defense Health Agency
Senior Health Policy Analyst
  • Linked Session ID: 949137
  • Authors: Gliner Melissa, PhD1, Christopher C. Duke, PhD2, Amanda Grifka2, Joseph Gasper, PhD3, Chris Manglitz3
    1Defense Health Agency, 2Altarum, 3Westat
  • Learning Outcome 1: Identify trends in COVID-19 vaccination rates over time in TRICARE beneficiaries.
  • Learning Outcome 2: Compare differences in COVID-19 vaccination rates between beneficiary categories.
  • Learning Outcome 3: Analyze how specific attitudes and beliefs predict likelihood of COVID-19 vaccination.
  • Linked Session Title: Access to care barriers in relation to COVID-19