RESEARCH ARTICLE


COVID-19 Vaccine Hesitancy among Health Care Workers in the Middle East Region



Ahmed H. Aoun1, 2, *, Mohamed H. Aon3, 4, Abdulrahman Z. Alshammari3, Shady A Moussa5
1 Department of Pediatrics, Faculty of Medicine, Cairo University, Giza, Egypt.
2 Primary Health Care Corporation, Doha, Qatar.
3 Department of Medicine, Jahra Hospital, Al-Jahra, Kuwait.
4 Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Cairo University, Giza, Egypt.
5 Department of Pediatric Dentistry and Dental Public Health, Zagazig University, Zagazig, Egypt.


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Creative Commons License
© 2021 Aoun et al.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/legalcode. This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at Department of Pediatrics, Faculty of Medicine, Cairo University, Giza, Egypt; Tel: +974 50056807;
E-mail:ahmadaon@hotmail.com


Abstract

Background:

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccine development is the best approach to fight the disease. However, rising vaccine hesitancy can make widespread vaccine application difficult.

Objectives:

To explore health care workers' attitudes towards the COVID-19 vaccine and find the reasons lying behind vaccine hesitancy among participants.

Methods:

Our study was a cross-sectional survey. An anonymous online questionnaire was sent to a sample of health care workers living and working in the Middle East region. Data collected included demographic data, educational attainment, household crowding, risk factors for severe COVID-19 infection, influenza vaccination history, and questions about COVID-19 vaccine acceptance.

Results:

We received 864 validated responses. The study included 365 physicians, 391 nurses, and 108 allied professions. Females represented 61% of participants and 98.5% of participants were below 65 years old. Around 60% of participants were hesitant to get the COVID-19 vaccine. The commonest reasons for hesitancy were lack of information and fear of side effects. Vaccine acceptance was higher among males (p< 0.001), physicians (p= 0.017), participants with medical risk factors (p= 0.017), and participants vaccinated against influenza (p< 0.001). After control for other factors, male (OR, 1.94; CI 1.42-2.66), married participant (OR, 1.89; CI 1.22-2.92), living in a less crowded accommodation (OR, 1.33; CI 1.11-1.59), and who got influenza vaccine (OR, 1.64; CI 1.13-2.37) tended to accept the COVID-19 vaccine more likely.

Conclusion:

Rates of vaccine hesitancy among health care workers were high. The current pandemic offers an opportunity to establish better vaccine confidence towards the COVID-19 vaccine and vaccines in general.

Keywords: COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2, Vaccine, Vaccine hesitancy, Health care workers, Middle East.