Perceptions of Portuguese teachers, health professionals and older adults about Covid-19 vaccination

Tânia Magalhães Silva, Institute of Biomedicine (iBiMED), Department of Medical Sciences, University of Aveiro, Aveiro, Portugal
Marta Estrela, Institute of Biomedicine (iBiMED), Department of Medical Sciences, University of Aveiro, Aveiro, Portugal
Vítor Roque, Research Unit for Inland Development, Guarda Polytechnic Institute (UDI-IPG), Guarda, Portugal
Eva Rebelo Gomes, Allergy and Clinical Immunology Service, University Hospital Center of Porto, Porto, Portugal
Adolfo Figueiras, Health Research Institute of Santiago de Compostela (IDIS), University of Santiago de Compostela, Santiago de Compostela, Spain and Consortium for Biomedical Research in Epidemiology and Public Health (CIBER Epidemiology and Public Health - CIBERESP), Santiago de Compostela, Spain
Fátima Roque, Research Unit for Inland Development, Guarda Polytechnic Institute (UDI-IPG), Guarda, Portugal
Maria Teresa Herdeiro, Institute of Biomedicine (iBiMED), Department of Medical Sciences, University of Aveiro, Aveiro, Portugal

This study aims to identify and evaluate the main perceptions, attitudes, and knowledge about Covid-19 vaccination of three at-risk groups: teachers, health professionals and older adults. An online survey was administered to teachers (n=1062) and health professionals (n=890), while the older adults (n=602) were contacted using computer-assisted telephone interviewing. The majority of all three groups believed that vaccination will be effective in ending the pandemic.
Key points
  • 1
       Vaccines are widely accepted by the three groups, regardless of gender, age, education level and/or geographical region. Moreover, although the vaccination coverage rate of the participants was approximately 50%, around 90% of the respondents were willing to take the vaccine as soon as possible.
  • 2
       Although participants were aware of the potential of vaccination to end the Covid-19 pandemic, mainly by preventing infection and its associated complications, a large proportion (over 30%) was sceptical of this outcome.
  • 3
       Vaccination hesitancy mostly focused on uncertainty about the efficacy and possible side effects of the vaccine, particularly among teachers and health professionals (~50%), rather than on the location of the vaccine’s manufacturer, highlighting the need to increase confidence in the vaccine.
  • 4
       More than 75% of participants perceived the relevant authorities as a reliable source of information about Covid-19 vaccination. In contrast, only 41%, 36% and 59% of the teachers, health professionals and older adults, respectively, considered social media to be reliable.
  • 5
       While around 90% of the surveyed teachers and health professionals wanted to be tested for immune response after Covid-19 infection or vaccination, only nearly 2/3 of the older adults shared the same wish.

The Covid-19 pandemic has affected millions of people around the globe. Therefore, it becomes essential to investigate people’s awareness of and worries about the pandemic’s impact, aiming to combat vaccine hesitancy and misinformation for disease prevention and the promotion of public health. More than 60% of the participants agreed that the Covid-19 pandemic will end when most of the population has received the vaccine  (graph 1).

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