Acceptance of the coronavirus disease-2019 vaccine among medical students in Uganda

Article Authors: Andrew Marvin Kanyike, Ronald Olum, Jonathan Kajjimu, Daniel Ojilong, Gabriel Madut Akech, Dianah Rhoda Nassozi, Drake Agira, Nicholas Kisaakye Wamala, Asaph Asiimwe, Dissan Matovu, Ann Babra Nakimuli, Musilim Lyavala, Patricia Kulwenza, Joshua Kiwumulo & Felix Bongomin


Background: COVID-19 is still a major global threat for which vaccination remains the ultimate solution. Uganda reported 40,751 cases and 335 deaths as of 9 April 2021 and started its vaccination program among priority groups like health workers, teachers, those with chronic diseases among others in early March 2021. Unanimous uptake of the COVID-19 vaccine is required to subsequently avert its spread; therefore, we assessed COVID-19 vaccine acceptability, hesitancy, and associated factors among medical students in Uganda.
Methods: This study employed an online descriptive cross-sectional survey among medical students across 10 medical schools in Uganda. A structured questionnaire via Google Form was conveniently sent to eligible participants via WhatsApp. Each medical school had a coordinator who consistently shared the data tool in the WhatsApp groups. Chi-square or Fisher’s exact test, and logistic regression were used to assess the association between vaccine acceptability with demographics, COVID-19 risk perception, and vaccine hesitancy.
Results: We surveyed 600 medical students, 377 (62.8%) were male. COVID-19 vaccine acceptability was 37.3% and vaccine hesitancy 30.7%. Factors associated with vaccine acceptability were being male (adjusted odds ratio (aOR) = 1.9, 95% CI 1.3–2.9, p=0.001) and being single (aOR= 2.1, 95% CI 1.1–3.9, p=0.022). Very high (aOR= 3.5, 95% CI 1.7–6.9, p<0.001) or moderate (aOR =2.2, 95% CI 1.2–4.1, p=0.008) perceived risk of getting COVID-19 in the future, receiving any vaccine in the past 5 years (aOR= 1.6, 95% CI 1.1–2.5, p=0.017), and COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy (aOR 0.6, 95% CI 0.4–0.9, p=0.036).
Conclusions: This study revealed low levels of acceptance towards the COVID-19 vaccine among medical students, low self-perceived risks of COVID-19, and many had relied on social media that provided them with negative information. This poses an evident risk on the battle towards COVID-19 in the future especially when these future health professions are expected to be influencing decisions of the general public towards the same.

Bibliographical metadata

Journal Tropical Medicine and Health
Related Faculties/Schools