Zika virus knowledge and vaccine acceptance among undergraduate students in Guayaquil, Ecuador

Vaccine X. 2022 Dec 28;13:100258. doi: 10.1016/j.jvacx.2022.100258. eCollection 2023 Apr.


Purpose: Zika virus (ZIKV) was declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) in 2016. Concerns surrounding the effects of ZIKV persist today and several vaccine candidates are currently in various stages of development worldwide. There is limited research on ZIKV vaccine acceptability worldwide, and little research specific to Latin American countries. This research aims to identify the general beliefs and acceptance of a potential ZIKV vaccine in the undergraduate population at Escuela Superior Politécnica del Litoral (ESPOL) in Guayaquil, Ecuador.

Methods: Between January and November 2019, 429 undergraduate students at ESPOL responded anonymously to a ZIKV vaccine survey. Frequencies, percentages, simple correspondence analysis, and bivariate inferential analyses were conducted using Kendall's tau-b test. Tests explored associations between likelihood of receiving a ZIKV vaccine and demographic, ZIKV information seeking, ZIKV psychosocial variables, and ZIKV information source variables.

Results: Among the eligible participants, 241 (56.2%) were willing to receive a ZIKV vaccine if one was made commercially available. Most students were male (61.5%), age 20-25 (63.3%), and of mixed (Mestizo) race (95.3%). Results provided insight into student's knowledge on ZIKV, revealed television as the most common information source, and found most students were willing to receive a ZIKV vaccine were one to become available. Bivariate results revealed most respondents reported feeling neutral or likely to receive a ZIKV vaccine regardless of their agreeability with ZIKV information seeking behavior and psychosocial variables.

Conclusions: This study provides insight into ZIKV knowledge among ESPOL university students and reveals most respondents obtained ZIKV related information from television. The most common reason for not wanting to receive a hypothetical ZIKV vaccine was vaccine hesitancy. Likelihood of receiving a ZIKV vaccine was associated with several information seeking behavior and psychosocial variables. Public health campaigns should focus on comprehensive ZIKV education efforts in this population.

Keywords: Infectious disease; Vaccine acceptability; Vaccine hesitancy; Zika virus.