COVID-19 Vaccine Intent and Attitudes: results from a cross-sectional survey of university-based undergraduate and graduate students Open Access

Masiello, Matthew (Spring 2021)

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Background. Given high rates of COVID-19 transmission among students at institutes of higher education (IHE), there is a need to understand COVID-19 vaccine intent and attitudes among this population.

Methods. Using data collected from a 2021 cross-sectional survey, factors associated with vaccine intent and attitudes toward COVID-19 and risk mitigation activities were examined. Associations between intention to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, COVID-19-related attitudes and respondent educational level (undergraduate vs. graduate) were assessed using logistic regression.

Results. Of 15,451 students sent the survey, 3,610 (23%) responded. Among respondents, 3,362 (93%) reported an intention to get a COVID-19 vaccine or had already vaccinated. The most common reason for not wanting a vaccine was concern around long-term effects (74%). Most respondents (78%) reported still being concerned about COVID-19, but only 57% reported that their friend group expressed similar concern. This difference was greater among undergraduate students than graduate students (75% versus 53% compared to 81% versus 62%, respectively). The strongest predictor of not wanting a COVID-19 vaccine was not receiving a 2020-2021 influenza vaccine (aOR: 5.12, 95% CI: 3.69-7.12) and expressing no concern about COVID-19 (aOR: 2.19, 95% CI: 1.46-3.28).

Conclusions. Most IHE students that responded to the survey expressed intention to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. There was a notable difference between respondent attitudes toward COVID-19 and associated risk mitigation activities compared to what respondents believed their friend group’s attitudes to be. IHE administrators should continue to stress the importance of risk mitigation activities while encouraging vaccine uptake among their student populations.

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