(HealthDay News) — More than one-third of adolescent and young adult (AYA) cancer survivors report COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy, according to a study published online in JNCI Cancer Spectrum.

Austin R. Waters, MSPH, from the Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, and colleagues examined factors associated with COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy among AYA cancer survivors. Eligible participants were aged 18 years or older and were diagnosed with cancer as an AYA (age 15 to 39 years); 342 participants completed a cross-sectional survey.

The researchers found that 37.1% of participants reported COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy. Female survivors and survivors with a high school education or less reported higher odds of vaccine hesitancy compared with male or college graduate or higher counterparts in multivariable analysis (odds ratios, 1.81 and 3.15, respectively).

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“Cancer survivors should not wait to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Oncology care providers and cancer centers should play an important role in encouraging young survivors to receive the vaccine,” Waters said in a statement. “To ensure equitable protection of vulnerable populations, special attention should be paid to vaccine hesitancy among at-risk groups such as young adult cancer survivors and groups that may have higher vaccine hesitancy such as female survivors or those with a high school education or less.”

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