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Prevalence and Drivers of COVID-19 Vaccine Booster Hesitancy Among German University Students and Employees

Authors
  • Attia, Sameh1
  • Mausbach, Katharina2
  • Klugar, Miloslav3
  • Howaldt, Hans-Peter1
  • Riad, Abanoub3, 4
  • 1 Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Faculty of Medicine, Justus-Liebig-University, Giessen , (Germany)
  • 2 Department of Prosthodontics, Faculty of Medicine, Justus-Liebig-University, Giessen , (Germany)
  • 3 Czech National Centre for Evidence-Based Healthcare and Knowledge Translation (Cochrane Czech Republic, Czech EBHC: JBI Centre of Excellence, Masaryk University GRADE Centre), Faculty of Medicine, Institute of Biostatistics and Analyses, Masaryk University, Brno
  • 4 Department of Public Health, Faculty of Medicine, Masaryk University, Brno
Type
Published Article
Journal
Frontiers in Public Health
Publisher
Frontiers Media SA
Publication Date
Apr 07, 2022
Volume
10
Identifiers
DOI: 10.3389/fpubh.2022.846861
Source
Frontiers
Keywords
Disciplines
  • Public Health
  • Original Research
License
Green

Abstract

COVID-19 booster hesitancy (VBH) is a serious public health challenge which acts simultaneously with the waning vaccine-elicited immunity and the emerging viral variants to prolong the pandemic interval. Therefore, this study aimed to evaluate the prevalence of COVID-19 VBH among a highly educated subset of the German population and to explore the potential demographic, anamnestic, and psychosocial determinants of this problem. A cross-sectional survey-based study was conducted in December 2021 among German university students and employees to evaluate their attitudes toward COVID-19 vaccine booster (VB) doses. The study used a self-administered questionnaire that was developed and disseminated digitally, and the questionnaire inquired about participants' demographic characteristics, COVID-19-related anamnesis, COVID-19 vaccine-related anamnesis, and psychosocial predictors of COVID-19 VBH. A total of 930 participants were recruited, of which 608 (65.4%) were students, 682 (73.3%) were females, and their mean age was 29.08 ± 10.93 years. Fifty-five participants (5.9%) had been previously infected by COVID-19 and the vast majority of infections happened before the first vaccine dose. Over 95% of the participants had received at least one vaccine dose, and the most commonly administered vaccine was BNT162b2. The overall COVID-19 VB acceptance was satisfactory (87.8%) and induced by various altruistic promoters, e.g., family health protection, community health protection, and patients' health protection. The students (86.3%), the previously infected participants (76.4%), the participants who did not receive primer doses of COVID-19 vaccines (2.5 %), and those who were hospitalized (40%) and sought medical care/treatment after receiving primer doses (86.8%) were less likely to accept COVID-19 VB compared to the employees (90.7%), the participants who were not previously infected (88.6%) and those who received primer dose (91.7%), and the participants who were not hospitalized (92%) nor sought medical care/treatment after primer doses (92.9%), respectively. The perceived effectiveness of COVID-19 VB against severe illness (adjusted odds ratio “AOR”: 47.65–95% confidence interval “CI”: 23.65–96.49), symptomatic infection (AOR: 9.87–95% CI: 5.20–18.71), community transmission (AOR: 5.34–95% CI: 3.00–9.49) and emerging variants (AOR: 19.12–95% CI: 10.57–34.55) were key predictors for COVID-19 VB acceptance; therefore, it needs to be highlighted in vaccine messaging. In addition, the perceived safety of COVID-19 VB and ethical dilemmas of vaccine justice need to be addressed publicly.

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