Negative attitudes regarding vaccines and unwillingness to accept vaccinations are major barriers to managing the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, this study assessed the attitudes towards vaccines and intentions to vaccinate against COVID-19 among undergraduate students at the University of Zambia. This cross-sectional study was conducted among undergraduate students from August to September 2021. Data were collected through a validated questionnaire using the Vaccination Attitudes Examination (VAX) scale, where higher scores denoted greater negative attitudes. Overall, 339 students responded to the questionnaire, of whom 78 (23%) had received the COVID-19 vaccine and 261 (77%) were not vaccinated. Overall, 185 (54.6%) of the respondents exhibited negative attitudes towards vaccines. 249 (73.5%) of the respondents expressed a highly negative attitude concerning worries about the unforeseen effects of vaccines, while 191 (56.3%) reported a moderately negative attitude about general mistrust of vaccine benefits. 135 (40%) of the respondents intended to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, 123 (36%) were unsure, and 81 (24%) were unwilling. Studying a health-related program (AOR: 1.8, CI:104-3.03), the third year of study (AOR: 3.4, CI:1.08-10.5), and having a low negative attitude towards vaccines (AOR: 3.6, CI:2.24-5.83) were significantly associated with the intention to vaccinate. In this study, more than half of the participants displayed a highly negative attitude towards vaccines and had a low intention to vaccinate against COVID-19. Since the majority of participants are future parents, there is a need to develop awareness that targets behaviour changes to address the negative attitude exhibited by the participants towards vaccines.
Key words: Vaccination, immunizations, attitudes, intentions, COVID-19, students, vaccine hesitancy.
Copyright © 2023 Author(s) retain the copyright of this article.
This article is published under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0