Readiness of participants toward taking COVID-19 vaccinations
This is the first study to measure and identify significant factors associated with readiness toward COVID-19 vaccines using a validated questionnaire in Vietnam. The result from the study indicated a medium score of readiness to take COVID-19 vaccines although 71.9% of participants intended or already took one dose of COVID-19 vaccine. Perhaps the medium-low score in Calculation and Confidence components of the 7Cs explained the difference in the score of readiness and intention to take COVID-19 vaccines. Other researchers also reported similar results. Jamison, Quinn (1) interviewed 119 American adults and found that the majority of participants distrusted pharmaceutical companies and low trusting of the government, which were viewed to be motivated by profit. Safety concerns regarding COVID-19 vaccines have been found in other studies as well (8, 22, 23). The low score for the Calculation component surprised us since, by the time of collecting data, Vietnam was dealing with the third wave COVID-19 with over 12.000 cases per day which forced almost all cities into lockdown. COVID-19 vaccines are given freely to the general population, so the results somehow reflect those participants underestimate the benefits of vaccines.
Factors associated with the level of readiness toward COVID-19 vaccination
Findings from the current study indicated that participants’ sociodemographic were not associated with the readiness score which is in line with other studies. Age and occupation were found to be not related to the readiness to take the vaccine in Ethiopia, Afghanistan, and 4 Arab countries (13, 14, 24). The proportion of positive responses to take COVID-19 vaccines in males and females was no different in the study conducted by Oyekale (14). However, an international online survey found age and employment were associated with the subject’s participation in the COVID-19 vaccination program (18). Other studies also reported males were significantly more likely to take vaccines than female (13, 24). Results from a systematic review stated factors such as age, educational status, gender, occupation, and marital status were associated with the willingness to receive COVID-19 vaccines (3). The authors explained that individual sociodemographic characteristics were related to the perception of the threat of COVID-19 which influence the vaccination intentions (18).
Similar to other research, we also found having a chronic disease was not associated with the readiness to take COVID-19 vaccines (3, 24). This is an interesting finding since having a chronic disease puts a COVID-19 patient at risk of developing a serious illness, special for those with underlying medical problems like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, and cancer (25).
Results from the current survey indicated weak but significant downhill linear relationship between 7Cs score and agreement level with some common reasons for not taking COVID-19 (including awareness of the instances of death or serious adverse effects, the concern of the manufacturer or place of origin, waiting for a better vaccine, confused by different information of the vaccines, don't believe in the advice of the government regarding the safety and effectiveness of COVID-19-vaccines) which is in accordance with other studies (1, 6, 18, 21). The findings explained the reason for the low score in the components of Confidence and Calculation in the 7Cs.
Based on the results it is suggested that to increase the level of readiness of the public toward COVID-19 vaccination, the policymaker should pay attention to promoting trusted evidence for the safety and effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccine. Misinformation and unsubstantiated rumors regarding COVID-19 vaccines have been shared on social media platforms even before the release of an effective vaccine (26) causing confusion and vaccine hesitance (27). As such preventing, correcting, and removing COVID-19 vaccine misinformation policy must be developed and implemented to address this problem. In addition, the mistake of waiting for a better vaccine should be corrected. There was clearly no perfect COVID-19 vaccine and the WHO’s experts stated that “the best vaccine is the one you can get the soonest”. If people want to wait for the preferred vaccine, it would not only leave more people at risk of developing serious cases of COVID-19, but it would also slow down the country’s vaccination program. The results from our study may explain the reason why in some areas the vaccination rate is low while COVID-19 vaccination is available in Vietnam.
A positive high significant correlation was also found between the level of vaccination readiness and the possibility to be diagnosed with COVID-19. Similarly, the correlation between the 7Cs score and the impacts of COVID-19 on health was found to be strong and significant. As such, it is suggested that providing community health education on the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines is vital to improving the readiness to take them. Although such education must be provided before the availability of COVID-19 vaccines, continuous education or promotion of the efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines.
The recent study has some advantages including a large sample size and using a validated questionnaire that increases the reliability of the study. However, this study has some limitations. First, a convenience sampling approach via social media may result in selection bias. Second, this was a cross-sectional study that could not indicate the causal relationship.