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Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020, Hong Kong has recorded 9,000 deaths from COVID-19 and more than one million infections in more than two years. In an effort to combat the pandemic, the government is adjusting its pandemic strategies. Different restrictions and measures have provoked different opinions in the public, and some of them, in turn, have led to differences in the degree of adherence of residents to COVID prevention measures, as well as their intention to receive vaccines, a recent study suggests.

With the support of the Foundation for Health and Medical Research, managed by the Bureau of Nutrition and Health, Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) conducted a longitudinal study to investigate Hong Kong residents ’adherence to various COVID prevention measures and their intention to receive vaccines. The study, which randomly selected 1,225 people aged 18-85, included three stages of telephone interviews during the 4th and 5th waves of the Hong Kong pandemic. The results were published in International Journal of Environmental and Public Health Research and Vaccines respectively. Researchers have found that there is a trend of “increasing, then decreasing.” vaccine fluctuations among respondents. The team urged the government to further review incentives for vaccination and adopt a two-pronged approach (through policy and education) to raise people’s awareness and confidence in vaccines.

Stage 1 (December 19, 2020 – January 6, 2021)

The first round of telephone interviews was conducted in the early 4th wave of the pandemic, when the vaccination program had not yet been launched. The majority of 1,225 respondents said they adhered to the preventive measures proposed by the government and also indicated a reluctance to receive the COVID vaccine:

  • Wearing masks in public places (94%)
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth (88%)
  • Use of alcohol-based hand sanitizer (82%) and social distance (75%)
  • Indicate intention to receive vaccine (42%)
  • Evidence of hesitation or refusal of vaccines (58%)

The intention to vaccinate is influenced by several factors. Higher intent to receive the vaccine may be due to male gender, older age, gender, past experiences of epidemics such as SARS and swine flu, lower vaccine safety concerns, higher perceived risk of infection, higher self-efficacy, and greater recognition of disease measures.

Phase 2 (June 1, 2021 – July 11, 2021)

Six months after the first round of interviews, 1,003 respondents were contacted to track their actual vaccination status. In this second round of interviews, three months after the launch of the COVID-19 vaccination program (note: the program was officially launched on February 26, 2021), one in four respondents (24%) reported receiving at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. 19. The main reasons were:

  • Provide personal health (68%) and family health (64%)
  • Meet the requirements of vaccination in the workplace (55%)
  • Responded to the government’s call (42%)
  • Preparation for quarantined trips and unrestricted social events (28%)

The results showed that the actual vaccination status and previous intention to receive the vaccine were not related. Instead, respondents ’decisions to vaccinate were influenced by their trust in government and the health care system, pandemic control measures, the current COVID-19 experience, and the vaccination status of people they know.

Stage 3 (December 21, 2021 – January 21, 2022)

The third round of interviews was conducted in the early stages of the 5th wave of the pandemic, which took place twelve months after the first round and almost a year after the start of the vaccination program against COVID-19. At that time, more than 80% of respondents received at least one dose of COVID vaccine. The main reasons were:

  • Compliance with workplace vaccination requirements (57%)
  • Ensuring personal health (55%) and the health of family members (51%)
  • Responding to a call from the government (32%)
  • Preparation for quarantine and unrestricted travel (32%)

Changes in intentions to vaccinate

The results show that respondents intentions before vaccination has changed over time. In the third round of interviews, the level of hesitation and refusal of the vaccine fell.

  • Stage 1: hesitation or refusal of the vaccine (54%), readiness for the vaccine (46%)
  • Stage 2: hesitation or refusal of the vaccine (58%), desire for the vaccine (42%), at least one dose of the vaccine (24%)
  • Stage 3: hesitation or refusal of the vaccine (42%), desire for the vaccine (59%), at least one dose of the vaccine (80%)

“The intention to get vaccines is due to the intensity of pandemic waves and the severity of anti-pandemic measures,” said Professor Elsie Chau-Wai Yang, deputy head of the Department of Applied Social Sciences at PolyU, who is leading the study. “For example, residents were more reluctant to receive injections during the less severe 4th wave of the pandemic. But when Omicron-induced infections began to spread to Hong Kong and the government began complying with vaccination requirements, both vaccination intentions and actual vaccination rates increased by more. high level ”.

To further intensify the spread of vaccines, the government should adopt a flexible strategy to encourage people to receive vaccines, Professor Ian believes. “While it is important to develop pandemic measures in a timely manner and introduce compulsory vaccination in certain populations, it is equally important for the government to step up vaccination. A small explanation of the benefits and needs of vaccination to protect individuals and their families can be key to success.” .

Vaccination against COVID-19 is associated with a 15% reduction in stillbirths in pregnant women

Additional information:
Elsie Ian et al., Predicting Public Commitment to COVID-19 Preventive Measures: A Cross-Sectional Study in Hong Kong, International Journal of Environmental and Public Health Research (2021). DOI: 10.3390 / ijerph182312403

Elsie Ian et al., Predictors of the intention to vaccinate against COVID-19 in the general public in Hong Kong: the results of a thorough population-based survey, Vaccines (2021). DOI: 10.3390 / vaccines9070696

Citation: The study shows that the trend of growth and then decreasing fluctuations from the vaccine (2022, May 17), obtained on May 17, 2022 from hesitancy.html

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