Perspectives about COVID-19 vaccine boosters among the U.S. paralysis community

Rehabil Psychol. 2022 Nov;67(4):513-525. doi: 10.1037/rep0000471. Epub 2022 Sep 29.


Purpose/objective: We sought to explore perspectives of the paralysis community about COVID-19 vaccine boosters.

Research method/design: Data were collected through an online survey with multiple choice and open-ended questions from adult persons with paralysis (PWP), persons with other disabilities, and other members of the paralysis community (Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation Supporters, FS). PWP and persons with other disabilities were grouped into one group (persons with disabilities, PWD) for most analyses. Multiple choice questions were analyzed using descriptive statistics and chi-square analyses were conducted to compare the PWD and FS groups; open-ended responses were coded using Hamilton's rapid assessment process.

Results: A total of 774 participants (740 PWD and 304 FS) responded to the survey. PWD were less likely to agree that they felt well-informed about boosters, that the boosters were safe, and that their state and federal governments provide transparent information about boosters. Of those who had not received a booster, PWP were less likely than the rest of the sample to plan to receive one. Both groups expressed similar concerns about the boosters, but distrust was a more common concern for PWD than for FS. Both groups expressed concerns about side effects and the boosters affecting a health condition, but PWP expressed concerns unique to paralysis and neurological difficulties.

Conclusions: Although PWD shared concerns with the FS group, distrust is a larger issue and concerns unique to PWD that must be considered in public health efforts to ensure that the paralysis community is treated equitably. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2022 APA, all rights reserved).

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • COVID-19 Vaccines
  • COVID-19* / prevention & control
  • Disabled Persons*
  • Humans
  • Paralysis


  • COVID-19 Vaccines

Supplementary concepts

  • COVID-19 vaccine booster shot