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Cross-Sectional Study of University students attitudes to on campus delivery of COVID-19 vaccines and future-proofing MenACWY and MMR vaccination rates by adopting COVID-19 vaccine roll-out strategies

By Adam Webb, Mayuri D Gogoi, Sarah Weidman, Katherine Woolf, Maria Zavala, Shamez Ladhani, Manish Pareek, Lieve Gies, Christopher D. Bayliss

Posted 07 Feb 2022
medRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2022.02.07.22270394

Background University students are a critical group for vaccination programmes against COVID-19, meningococcal disease (MenACWY), and measles, mumps and rubella (MMR). We aimed to evaluate risk factors for vaccine hesitancy (refusal or intention to refuse a vaccine) and views of university students about on-campus vaccine delivery. Methods Cross-sectional anonymous online questionnaire study of undergraduate students at a British university in June 2021. Chi-squared, Fishers exact, univariate and multivariate tests were applied to detect associations. Results Complete data were obtained from 827 participants (7.6% response-rate). Two-thirds (64%; 527/827) reported having been vaccinated against COVID-19 and a further 23% (194/827) agreed to be vaccinated. Other responses were either unclear (66) or indicated an intention to refuse vaccination (40). Hesitancy for COVID-19 vaccines was 5% (40/761). COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy was associated with black ethnicity (aOR, 7.01, 95% CI, 1.8-27.3) and concerns about vaccine side-effects (aOR, 1.72; 95% CI, 1.23-2.39). Lower levels of vaccine hesitancy were detected amongst students living in private accommodation (aOR, 0.13; 95% CI, 0.04-0.38) compared to those living at home. Uncertainty about their personal vaccine status was frequently observed for MMR (11%) and MenACWY (26%) vaccines. Campus-associated COVID-19 vaccine campaigns were definitely (45%) or somewhat (16%) favoured by UK-based students and more so among UK-based international students (62% and 12%, respectively). Conclusions Vaccine hesitancy among students of black ethnicity and those living at home requires further exploration because attitudes in these groups may affect COVID-19 vaccine uptake. High levels of uncertainty among students about their MMR and MenACWY vaccine status are also a concern for the effectiveness of these vaccine programmes. This issue could be tackled by extending the capabilities of digital platforms for accessing vaccine information, such as the NHSapp in the UK. Sector-wide implementation of on-campus vaccine delivery may also improve vaccine uptake, especially for international students.

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