Prevalence, Knowledge and Potential Determinants of COVID-19 Vaccine Acceptability Among University Students in the United Arab Emirates: Findings and Implications

J Multidiscip Healthc. 2022 Jan 11:15:81-92. doi: 10.2147/JMDH.S341700. eCollection 2022.

Abstract

Objective: To evaluate the prevalence, knowledge, attitude and acceptance of the COVID-19 vaccines and related factors among university students in the United Arab Emirates.

Methods: Analytical cross-sectional study undertaken among a convenient sample of medical and non-medical colleges of Ajman University using a self-administrated questionnaire. The questionnaire included demographic data as well as assessing knowledge of COVID-19, attitudes and acceptance of COVID-19 vaccines.

Results: A total of 467 students participated in the study and completed the questionnaire. A total of 181 (38.8%) participants reported that they have been vaccinated against COVID-19 virus, principally with the Sinopharm vaccine (84%). Vaccination against the COVID-19 virus was less prevalent among Arabic nationalities compared to other nationalities, but more prevalent among students from health science colleges compared to those from non-health science colleges. The acceptance rate of COVID-19 vaccine among study participants was 56.3%, exacerbated by worries regarding unforeseen problems (65.5%, 306), general mistrust (47.3%, 221) and unforeseen impacts (35.1%, 164). The average knowledge score was 60.1%, with 142 (30.4%) having poor knowledge, 127 (27.2%) acceptable knowledge and 198 (42.4%) good knowledge. There were common misconceptions about symptoms including nausea and diarrhoea, as well as the route of transmission, with half believing antibiotics are effective treatment.

Conclusion: There was variable knowledge of COVID-19 among students. Misconceptions need addressing going forward. To enhance COVID-19 vaccination uptake in the country and worldwide, health education targeting diverse sociodemographic categories should be prioritized.

Keywords: Ajman University; COVID-19; acceptance; concerns; knowledge; university student; vaccine.