Assessment of COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy among undergraduate medical students of a tertiary care teaching hospital, Surat: a source of profound concern
Keywords:COVID-19 vaccines, Undergraduate, Medical students, Hesitancy
Background: The discussion around COVID-19 vaccines has been in the limelight ever since the announcement was made for mass vaccination campaign in India. Less is known about undergraduate medical students’ perception and willingness towards getting COVID-19 vaccination. The aim of the study was to assess reasons for the apprehension if present towards taking the COVID-19 vaccines among medical students and to spread awareness about the ongoing issue.
Methods: This was a prospective, cross sectional, survey-based study which was conducted at Surat Municipal Institute of Medical Education and Research (SMIMER), Surat, Gujarat, India. Questionnaire was distributed among medical students during lectures and exam going students were sent Google form link. Data collection was done from February to March 2021, and 550 students submitted the forms.
Results: While 34.9% students had taken the vaccine voluntarily, category I (acceptance group); 18.2% students were initially hesitant to take the vaccine, but later took it, category II (hesitant group); the frequency increased to 46.9% students who are still hesitant and have not taken the vaccine, category III (refusal group). Top reasons for hesitancy were: concern regarding adverse events (69%), safety (60%) and lack of scientific data (27%) provided for the vaccines.
Conclusions: This study revealed that there was lack of knowledge and positive attitude towards the COVID-19 vaccines among the non-vaccinated students. This evaluation has guided the importance and the need of targeted educational program to address the knowledge gap.
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