Awareness and acceptance of Covid-19 vaccines and associated factors among pharmacy students in Zambia

Steward Mudenda, Moses Mukosha, Christabel Hikaambo, Johanna Meyer, Joseph Fadare, Martin Kampamba, Aubrey Kalungia, Sody Munsaka, Roland Okoro, Victor Daka, Misheck Chileshe, Ruth Mfune, Webrod Mufwambi, Bwalya Witika, Brian Godman

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Abstract

Aim: This study aimed to assess the awareness and acceptance of COVID-19 vaccines and associated factors among pharmacy students in Zambia.
Materials and methods: We conducted a cross-sectional study among 326 undergraduate pharmacy students in Lusaka, Zambia, from February to 25 April 2021. Data were analysed using Stata version 16.1. Multivariable logistic regression was used to determine key factors influencing vaccine acceptance. Results: Of the 326 participants, 98.8% were aware of the COVID-19 vaccines, but only 24.5% would accept vaccination. Compared to other religions, being of Christian faith was associated with reduced odds of awareness of the COVID-19 vaccine (aOR=0.01, 95% CI: 0.01-0.20). Conversely, factors associated with vaccine acceptance were being male, single and unemployed. Compared to females, male respondents were 86% more likely to accept the vaccine if it was made available (aOR=1.86, 95% CI: 1.10-3.14). In addition, unmarried respondents were 2.65 times as likely to accept vaccination than married respondents (aOR=2.65, 95% CI: 1.06-6.63). Conversely, unemployed respondents were less likely to accept vaccination than their employed counterparts (aOR=0.32, 95% CI: 0.16-0.46). Barriers to the acceptability of the vaccine were possible side effects (78.5%) and scepticism about its effectiveness (10.2%). Conclusion: There was significant vaccine hesitancy toward COVID-19 vaccines among Zambian pharmacy students despite their awareness of the vaccines. Health authorities must work collaboratively with training institutions to mitigate vaccine hesitancy, especially with healthcare students being a key part of the future healthcare workforce overseeing disease prevention strategies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)236-243
Number of pages8
JournalMalawi Medical Journal
Volume34
Issue number4
Early online date9 Nov 2022
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 9 Nov 2022

Keywords

  • acceptability
  • acceptance
  • awareness
  • COVID-19 vaccines
  • pharmacy students

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