Association Between COVID-19 Vaccine Hesitancy and Religiosity Among Elderly with Comorbidities

TitleAssociation Between COVID-19 Vaccine Hesitancy and Religiosity Among Elderly with Comorbidities
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2023
AuthorsKalu, KA, Tung, H-J
Keywordscomorbidities, COVID-19, Elderly, Health and Retirement Study, Population, religiosity, vaccine hesitancy


Evidence has indicated that COVID-19 vaccines are effective in preventing hospitalizations and deaths. Higher percentages of older adults with chronic conditions are more susceptible to developing severe outcomes when infected with the virus. However, there are studies documenting vaccine hesitancy associated with religiosity. This study tries to examine the association between COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy and religiosity among older adults with comorbidities.


This study used secondary data from the Health and Retirement Study (HRS), which is a nationally representative sample of older adults living in the United States. Vaccine hesitancy was measured by the single item, “How likely are you to take the coronavirus vaccine when it becomes available to you? Responses to the item was dichotomized by collapsing the “not at all likely” and “ not very likely” against the “very likely” and “somewhat likely” categories.

Religiosity was measured by the weekly frequencies of attending religious services.


Logistic regression results showed that HRS participants who attended religious service more than once a week expressed a higher hesitancy (OR=2.02 p<.05) in taking a COVID-19 vaccine if available. Compared to other races, the black participants had higher vaccine hesitancy (OR=2.49; p<.05) with lower odds of taking the COVID-19 vaccine if available. However, there was no association between the number of comorbidities and COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy.


The results seem to suggest an association between religiosity and the likelihood of COVID-19 vaccination among older Americans. More research is needed to evaluate religiosity as a social determinant of health for vaccine hesitancy.

Keywords: Religiosity, vaccine hesitancy, Health and Retirement Study, comorbidities, elderly, population, COVID-19.

Citation Key13285