Determinant Factors of Voluntary or Mandatory Vaccination against COVID-19: A Survey Study among Students at Albanian University

Vaccines (Basel). 2023 Jul 7;11(7):1215. doi: 10.3390/vaccines11071215.

Abstract

Introduction: The world faced serious health and socioeconomic issues with the advent of COVID-19. Along with handwashing, social distancing, and the wearing of masks, vaccination was considered by medical authorities as a key way to curb the spread of the virus. One of the measures that have been proposed to increase vaccinations is the mandatory policy. The purpose of this study was to compare the determinants of voluntary and mandatory vaccination among students at Albanian University.

Methodology: This cross-sectional study, conducted by means of an online survey, was conducted among students enrolled at the private Albanian University, Tirana, Albania during the last week of the winter semester, 7-14 February 2022.

Results: In sum, 878 students participated in this study, among whom 612 (69.7%) were females and 266 (30%) were males. Of the participants, 506 (57%) were enrolled in medical science (MS) and 372 (42.3%) were in the non-medical science (Non-MS) group. A total of 773 (88%) were vaccinated against COVID-19, and 105 (11.8%) were not vaccinated. A total of 466 (53%) reported voluntary vaccination, and 412 (46.9%) reported mandatory vaccination. Among the students who were vaccinated voluntarily, 266 (57%) were from the MS group and 200 (42.9%) were from the Non-MS group. A total of 237 (57.5%) of students in the mandatory vaccination group were from the MS group, and 175 (42.4%) were from the Non-MS group.

Conclusions: Vaccine safety and efficacy were hindering factors in vaccination. Additionally, based on the results of this study, the students felt encouraged by the academic staff to vaccinate. This clearly demonstrates that the staff does not lack the skills to enhance students' knowledge about the risk of infectious diseases and the importance of vaccination. Therefore, to influence students' attitudes as much as possible toward vaccination, comprehensive educational programs, including modifications of existing curricula, should be considered.

Keywords: COVID-19; mandatory policy; medical science students; vaccine.

Grants and funding

This research received funding from Albanian University Fund for Scientific Research.