Awareness and acceptance of Covid-19 vaccines and associated factors among pharmacy students in Zambia

Mudenda, Steward and Mukosha, Moses and Hikaambo, Christabel and Meyer, Johanna and Fadare, Joseph and Kampamba, Martin and Kalungia, Aubrey and Munsaka, Sody and Okoro, Roland and Daka, Victor and Chileshe, Misheck and Mfune, Ruth and Mufwambi, Webrod and Witika, Bwalya and Godman, Brian (2022) Awareness and acceptance of Covid-19 vaccines and associated factors among pharmacy students in Zambia. Malawi Medical Journal, 34 (4). pp. 236-243. (

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Aim: This study aimed to assess the awareness and acceptance of COVID-19 vaccines and associated factors among pharmacy students in Zambia. Materials and methods: We conducted a cross-sectional study among 326 undergraduate pharmacy students in Lusaka, Zambia, from February to 25 April 2021. Data were analysed using Stata version 16.1. Multivariable logistic regression was used to determine key factors influencing vaccine acceptance. Results: Of the 326 participants, 98.8% were aware of the COVID-19 vaccines, but only 24.5% would accept vaccination. Compared to other religions, being of Christian faith was associated with reduced odds of awareness of the COVID-19 vaccine (aOR=0.01, 95% CI: 0.01-0.20). Conversely, factors associated with vaccine acceptance were being male, single and unemployed. Compared to females, male respondents were 86% more likely to accept the vaccine if it was made available (aOR=1.86, 95% CI: 1.10-3.14). In addition, unmarried respondents were 2.65 times as likely to accept vaccination than married respondents (aOR=2.65, 95% CI: 1.06-6.63). Conversely, unemployed respondents were less likely to accept vaccination than their employed counterparts (aOR=0.32, 95% CI: 0.16-0.46). Barriers to the acceptability of the vaccine were possible side effects (78.5%) and scepticism about its effectiveness (10.2%). Conclusion: There was significant vaccine hesitancy toward COVID-19 vaccines among Zambian pharmacy students despite their awareness of the vaccines. Health authorities must work collaboratively with training institutions to mitigate vaccine hesitancy, especially with healthcare students being a key part of the future healthcare workforce overseeing disease prevention strategies.