Special Issue "Vaccines: Uptake and Equity in Times of the COVID-19 Pandemic"

A special issue of Vaccines (ISSN 2076-393X). This special issue belongs to the section "COVID-19 Vaccines and Vaccination".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 June 2022) | Viewed by 108787

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Barbara Rath
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Public Health, Vienna Vaccine Safety Initiative, Berlin, Germany
Interests: vaccine safety; vaccine communication and education; influenza and other respiratory viruses; pediatric infectious diseases

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

As societies and, more specifically, healthcare delivery systems have reorganized and adapted during the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a de-emphasis in many important healthcare activities, including routine life-course immunizations. Childhood and booster immunizations have been disrupted or delayed in some instances. Drops in vaccination rates risk long-term consequences, and it is possible that loss of vaccine protection may disproportionately impact vulnerable and disadvantaged populations.  

It is unclear at this moment whether measures to improve vaccine uptake prior to the COVID-19 pandemic will now be sustained or whether they need to be adjusted. At the same time, vaccine providers need to familiarize themselves with the best ways to generate catch-up programs and new ways to serve their communities in these unprecedented times.

With procurement mechanisms evolving around pandemic vaccines—including vaccines still in development to protect from SARS-CoV2—new questions will arise around scalability, equity, and access. These considerations will add to the existing challenges in vaccine uptake.

Experts disagree on the impact of a prospective pandemic vaccine on overall vaccine acceptance in the wider community. At the same time, simultaneous improvements in diagnostics, antibody treatments, and antivirals may also influence the sense of urgency to vaccinate.

This Special Issue invites subject matter experts on vaccines, public health, bioethics, vaccine research and development, anthropology, global health, risk analysis, economics, clinical medicine, basic science, and information technology to weigh in on this timely topic. We seek original manuscripts, reviews, position papers, and contributions from basic and clinical science, modeling/epidemiology, and the humanities that will provide novel ideas and scientific evidence to this important discussion. Lessons learned from the past and current health crises for pandemic preparedness in the future should also be considered.

Prof. Dr. Barbara Rath
Editorial Board Member

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Vaccines is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2200 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Vaccines
  • pandemic preparedness
  • COVID-19
  • SARS-CoV2
  • influenza
  • Ebola
  • HIV/AIDS
  • antiviral therapy
  • epidemic
  • antibodies
  • vaccine confidence
  • risk communication
  • vaccine hesitancy
  • public health
  • modeling

Published Papers (31 papers)

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Article
The Post-Vaccination Quantitative Total Immunoglobulin Levels against SARS-CoV-2 in Healthcare Workers: A Multi-Centric Cohort Study in India
Vaccines 2022, 10(9), 1535; https://doi.org/10.3390/vaccines10091535 - 15 Sep 2022
Viewed by 2239
Abstract
Healthcare workers (HCWs) in India received the AZD1222 and BBV152 vaccines from January 2021 onwards. The objective of this study was to compare the immune response (seropositivity rate and geometric mean titer (GMT), and 95% confidence interval (CI)] against severe acute respiratory syndrome [...] Read more.
Healthcare workers (HCWs) in India received the AZD1222 and BBV152 vaccines from January 2021 onwards. The objective of this study was to compare the immune response (seropositivity rate and geometric mean titer (GMT), and 95% confidence interval (CI)] against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) in HCWs who received these vaccines, after the first and second doses. Therefore, the total immunoglobulin (Ig) levels specific to SARS-CoV-2 were measured using quantitative enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). The study population of 133 HCWs consisted of two groups in which the immune response was measured for the AZD1222 and BBV152 vaccines. Data collection was performed from 6 February to 20 August 2021. Four weeks after the first and second dose, the odds ratio of seroconversion for AZD1222 and BBV152 vaccine was 10.3 times (95% CI: 4.5–23.7) and 15.9 times (95% CI: 6.3–39.9), respectively. The GMT was 6392.93 and 6398.82 U/mL for AZD1222 and 1480.47 and 990.38 U/mL for BBV152 after the first and second doses, respectively. Both vaccines elicited an immune response, but the seroconversion rate and GMT after each dose were significantly higher for AZD1222 than those for the BBV152 vaccine in this study. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Vaccines: Uptake and Equity in Times of the COVID-19 Pandemic)
Article
Variations in COVID-19 Vaccine Attitudes and Acceptance among Refugees and Lebanese Nationals Pre- and Post-Vaccine Rollout in Lebanon
Vaccines 2022, 10(9), 1533; https://doi.org/10.3390/vaccines10091533 - 15 Sep 2022
Viewed by 300
Abstract
Vaccine hesitancy among displaced populations is associated with inequitable access to services and mistrust of authorities, among other factors. This study evaluated variations in attitudes toward COVID-19 vaccines and factors associated with vaccine acceptance among refugees and Lebanese nationals accessing 60 International Medical [...] Read more.
Vaccine hesitancy among displaced populations is associated with inequitable access to services and mistrust of authorities, among other factors. This study evaluated variations in attitudes toward COVID-19 vaccines and factors associated with vaccine acceptance among refugees and Lebanese nationals accessing 60 International Medical Corps-supported health facilities through two cross-sectional surveys pre- (n = 3927; Survey 1) and post- (n = 4174; Survey 2) vaccine rollout. Logistic regression was used to assess predictors of vaccine acceptance using the health beliefs model. Refugees comprised 52.9% (Survey 1) and 54.2% (Survey 2) of respondents. Vaccine acceptance was low among both groups in Survey 1 (25.9% refugees vs. 23.1% Lebanese nationals), but higher in Survey 2 in Lebanese (57.6%) versus refugees (32.9%). Participants reported greater perceived benefits of vaccination, higher perceived COVID-19 susceptibility, and lower perceived vaccination barriers in Survey 2 versus Survey 1. Post-vaccine rollout, refugees had lower odds of vaccine acceptance compared to Lebanese (OR 0.50, 95%CI 0.41–0.60), while older age (OR 1.37, 95%CI 1.06–1.78, ≥51 years vs. 18–30 years) was associated with greater vaccine acceptance. Health beliefs model variables were associated with vaccine acceptance in both surveys. Tailored strategies to respond dynamically to changes in vaccine attitudes among vulnerable groups in Lebanon are essential for equitable vaccine uptake. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Vaccines: Uptake and Equity in Times of the COVID-19 Pandemic)
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Article
COVID-19 Vaccination Intent, Barriers and Facilitators in Healthcare Workers: Insights from a Cross-Sectional Study on 2500 Employees at LMU University Hospital in Munich, Germany
Vaccines 2022, 10(8), 1231; https://doi.org/10.3390/vaccines10081231 - 31 Jul 2022
Viewed by 702
Abstract
Considering the role of healthcare workers (HCW) in promoting vaccine uptake and previously recorded hesitancy among HCW, we aim to examine the COVID-19 vaccination intent and status of HCW through a cross-sectional anonymous online survey at LMU University Hospital in Munich. Data collection [...] Read more.
Considering the role of healthcare workers (HCW) in promoting vaccine uptake and previously recorded hesitancy among HCW, we aim to examine the COVID-19 vaccination intent and status of HCW through a cross-sectional anonymous online survey at LMU University Hospital in Munich. Data collection was informed by the Health Belief Model (HBM) and focused on vaccination intent, status and on potential factors affecting the decision-making process. In total, 2555 employees completed the questionnaire. Our data showed that an approving attitude towards recommended vaccines and having received an influenza vaccine in the previous winter were strongly associated with COVID-19 vaccination intent. Further, a positive COVID-19 vaccination status was associated with a higher likelihood of approving the extension of the validity of non-pharmaceutical interventions at the workplace. Our HBM-analysis demonstrated strong associations between the perceived benefits and barriers and COVID-19 vaccination intent. Unchanged or low perceived susceptibility and severity were associated with refusal or indecisiveness. Our findings highlight the factors associated with the decision regarding a COVID-19 vaccine and indicate a pattern-like behavior in the acceptance of novel vaccines by HCW. These insights can help inform the communication aims of vaccination campaigns among HCW within similar organizational contexts or in future outbreaks. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Vaccines: Uptake and Equity in Times of the COVID-19 Pandemic)
Article
Spatial Patterns of COVID-19 Vaccination Coverage by Social Vulnerability Index and Designated COVID-19 Vaccine Sites in Texas
Vaccines 2022, 10(4), 574; https://doi.org/10.3390/vaccines10040574 - 08 Apr 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 812
Abstract
Equitable access to the COVID-19 vaccine remains a public health priority. This study explores the association between ZIP Code–Tabulation Area level Social Vulnerability Indices (SVI) and COVID-19 vaccine coverage in Texas. A mixed-effects, multivariable, random-intercept negative binomial model was used to explore the [...] Read more.
Equitable access to the COVID-19 vaccine remains a public health priority. This study explores the association between ZIP Code–Tabulation Area level Social Vulnerability Indices (SVI) and COVID-19 vaccine coverage in Texas. A mixed-effects, multivariable, random-intercept negative binomial model was used to explore the association between ZIP Code–Tabulation Area level SVI and COVID-19 vaccination coverage stratified by the availability of a designated vaccine access site. Lower COVID-19 vaccine coverage was observed in ZIP codes with the highest overall SVIs (adjusted mean difference (aMD) = −13, 95% CI, −23.8 to −2.1, p < 0.01), socioeconomic characteristics theme (aMD = −16.6, 95% CI, −27.3 to −5.7, p = 0.01) and housing and transportation theme (aMD = −18.3, 95% CI, −29.6 to −7.1, p < 0.01) compared with the ZIP codes with the lowest SVI scores. The vaccine coverage was lower in ZIP Code–Tabulation Areas with higher median percentages of Hispanics (aMD = −3.3, 95% CI, −6.5 to −0.1, p = 0.04) and Blacks (aMD = −3.7, 95% CI, −6.4 to −1, p = 0.01). SVI negatively impacted COVID-19 vaccine coverage in Texas. Access to vaccine sites did not address disparities related to vaccine coverage among minority populations. These findings are relevant to guide the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines in regions with similar demographic and geospatial characteristics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Vaccines: Uptake and Equity in Times of the COVID-19 Pandemic)
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Article
Supporting Immunization Uptake during a Pandemic, Using Remote Phone Call Intervention among Babies Discharged from a Special Neonatal Care Unit (SNCU) in South India
Vaccines 2022, 10(4), 507; https://doi.org/10.3390/vaccines10040507 - 25 Mar 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 981
Abstract
COVID-19 has impacted children’s immunization rates, putting the lives of children at risk. The present study assesses the impact of phone-call counseling, on immunization uptake during the pandemic. Families of babies discharged from the SNCUs in six government centers in three South Indian [...] Read more.
COVID-19 has impacted children’s immunization rates, putting the lives of children at risk. The present study assesses the impact of phone-call counseling, on immunization uptake during the pandemic. Families of babies discharged from the SNCUs in six government centers in three South Indian states were recruited. Calls were made 10 days after the immunization due date. Missed vaccinees were counseled and followed up on 7 and 15 days. Of 2313 contacted, 2097 completed the survey. Respondents were mostly mothers (88.2%), poor (67.5%), and had secondary level education (37.4%). Vaccinations were missed due to the baby’s poor health (64.1%), COVID-19 related concerns (32.6%), and lack of awareness (16.8%). At the end of the intervention, the immunization uptake increased from 65.2% to 88.2%. Phone-call intervention can safely support immunization and lower the burden on health workers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Vaccines: Uptake and Equity in Times of the COVID-19 Pandemic)
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Article
A Multilingual App for Providing Information to SARS-CoV-2 Vaccination Candidates with Limited Language Proficiency: Development and Pilot
Vaccines 2022, 10(3), 360; https://doi.org/10.3390/vaccines10030360 - 25 Feb 2022
Viewed by 821
Abstract
Language barriers are obstacles in receiving vaccinations against COVID-19. They jeopardize informed consent, vaccination safety, and a positive immunization experience. We have developed a multilingual app to overcome language barriers when dealing with vaccination candidates with a limited proficiency in the locally spoken [...] Read more.
Language barriers are obstacles in receiving vaccinations against COVID-19. They jeopardize informed consent, vaccination safety, and a positive immunization experience. We have developed a multilingual app to overcome language barriers when dealing with vaccination candidates with a limited proficiency in the locally spoken language. We applied the Spiral Technology Action Research (STAR) model to create the app within a discursive process involving healthcare professionals (HCPs) from vaccination sites, literature searches and guidelines, and field trials at vaccination centers. In a real-world pilot test, we assessed the usability and feedback for further improvement. Our efforts resulted in an app that facilitates communication with vaccination candidates in 40 languages, each with over 500 phrases that can be played back or displayed as text. In the pilot test, the app demonstrated its usability, and was well accepted by the vaccination candidates (n = 20). The app was mainly used to inform about the risks and benefits of the SARS-CoV-2 vaccination. Some HCPs struggled to navigate the comprehensive content and the pilot test exposed the need for additional phrases. The STAR model proved to be flexible in adapting to dynamic pandemic conditions and changing recommendations. This multilingual app overcomes language barriers in healthcare settings, promoting vaccines to migrants with limited language proficiency. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Vaccines: Uptake and Equity in Times of the COVID-19 Pandemic)
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Article
A Multi-Center, Randomised, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Phase III Clinical Trial Evaluating the Impact of BCG Re-Vaccination on the Incidence and Severity of SARS-CoV-2 Infections among Symptomatic Healthcare Professionals during the COVID-19 Pandemic in Poland—First Results
Vaccines 2022, 10(2), 314; https://doi.org/10.3390/vaccines10020314 - 17 Feb 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 960
Abstract
Tuberculosis vaccines (Bacillus Calmette-Guérin, BCG) were introduced 100 years ago and are still recommended by the World Health Organization to prevent the disease. Studies have shown that BCG vaccination can stimulate non-specific immune responses and reduce the incidence of certain diseases. At the [...] Read more.
Tuberculosis vaccines (Bacillus Calmette-Guérin, BCG) were introduced 100 years ago and are still recommended by the World Health Organization to prevent the disease. Studies have shown that BCG vaccination can stimulate non-specific immune responses and reduce the incidence of certain diseases. At the beginning of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, it was hypothesised that the incidence of COVID-19 was lower in countries with BCG prevention. In an attempt to verify this thesis, we conducted a multicenter, randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled study on a group of 695 health care workers aged 25 years and over in Poland. All participants in the study had a tuberculin test, after which those who were negative were randomised (1:1) and received either the BCG- or placebo vaccine. From then on, these people were subjected to three months of observation for the occurrence of COVID-19 symptoms. The statistical analysis did not reveal any significant correlation between the frequency of incidents suspected of COVID-19 and BCG-10 vaccination, the result of the tuberculin test and the number of scars. The only statistically significant feature was the type of medical profession—nurses became infected more often than doctors or other medical workers (p = 0.02). The results differ from similar trials in other countries. Perhaps this is due to the lack of an unvaccinated control group. The impact of BCG vaccination on the course of COVID-19 requires further research. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Vaccines: Uptake and Equity in Times of the COVID-19 Pandemic)
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Article
Evaluating the Geographical Accessibility and Equity of COVID-19 Vaccination Sites in England
Vaccines 2022, 10(1), 50; https://doi.org/10.3390/vaccines10010050 - 30 Dec 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1065
Abstract
We assess the geographical accessibility of COVID-19 vaccination sites—including mass vaccination centers and community-level provision—in England utilizing open data from NHS England and detailed routing data from HERE Technologies. We aim to uncover inequity in vaccination site accessibility, highlighting small-area inequality hidden by [...] Read more.
We assess the geographical accessibility of COVID-19 vaccination sites—including mass vaccination centers and community-level provision—in England utilizing open data from NHS England and detailed routing data from HERE Technologies. We aim to uncover inequity in vaccination site accessibility, highlighting small-area inequality hidden by coverage figures released by the NHS. Vaccination site accessibility measures are constructed at a neighborhood level using indicators of journey time by private and public transport. We identify inequity in vaccination-site accessibility at the neighborhood level, driven by region of residence, mode of transport (specifically availability of private transport), rural-urban geography and the availability of GP-led services. We find little evidence that accessibility to COVID-19 vaccination sites is related to underlying area-based deprivation. We highlight the importance of GP-led provision in maintaining access to vaccination services at a local level and reflect on this in the context of phase 3 of the COVID-19 vaccination programme (booster jabs) and other mass vaccination programmes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Vaccines: Uptake and Equity in Times of the COVID-19 Pandemic)
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Article
COVID-19 Vaccine Uptake among Younger Women in Rural Australia
Vaccines 2022, 10(1), 26; https://doi.org/10.3390/vaccines10010026 - 27 Dec 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2094
Abstract
Vaccine uptake in younger Australian women living in rural and regional communities is poorly understood. This research explored factors affecting their decision making in the context of social determinants of health. A mixed methods design applying an explanatory sequential approach commenced with an [...] Read more.
Vaccine uptake in younger Australian women living in rural and regional communities is poorly understood. This research explored factors affecting their decision making in the context of social determinants of health. A mixed methods design applying an explanatory sequential approach commenced with an online questionnaire followed by in-depth interviews with a sample of the same participants. The majority (56%) of participants indicated a positive intention to be vaccinated against COVID-19, but a substantially high proportion (44%) were uncertain or had no intention to be vaccinated. Significant factors affecting vaccine uptake included inadequate and sometimes misleading information leading to poor perceptions of vaccine safety. The personal benefits of vaccination—such as reduced social restrictions and increased mobility—were perceived more positively than health benefits. Additionally, access issues created a structural barrier affecting uptake among those with positive or uncertain vaccination intentions. Understanding factors affecting vaccine uptake allows for more targeted, equitable and effective vaccination campaigns, essential given the importance of widespread COVID-19 vaccination coverage for public health. The population insights emerging from the study hold lessons and relevance for rural and female populations globally. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Vaccines: Uptake and Equity in Times of the COVID-19 Pandemic)
Article
Equity in Vaccine Trials for Higher Weight People? A Rapid Review of Weight-Related Inclusion and Exclusion Criteria for COVID-19 Clinical Trials
Vaccines 2021, 9(12), 1466; https://doi.org/10.3390/vaccines9121466 - 11 Dec 2021
Viewed by 1321
Abstract
Higher weight status, defined as body mass index (BMI) ≥ 30 kg/m2, is frequently described as a risk factor for severity and susceptibility to severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) disease (known as COVID-19). Therefore, study groups in COVID-19 vaccine [...] Read more.
Higher weight status, defined as body mass index (BMI) ≥ 30 kg/m2, is frequently described as a risk factor for severity and susceptibility to severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) disease (known as COVID-19). Therefore, study groups in COVID-19 vaccine trials should be representative of the weight spectrum across the global population. Appropriate subgroup analysis should be conducted to ensure equitable vaccine outcomes for higher weight people. In this study, inclusion and exclusion criteria of registered clinical trial protocols were reviewed to determine the proportion of trials including higher weight people, and the proportion of trials conducting subgroup analyses of efficacy by BMI. Eligibility criteria of 249 trial protocols (phase I, II, III and IV) were analysed; 51 protocols (20.5%) specified inclusion of BMI > 30, 73 (29.3%) specified exclusion of BMI > 30, and 125 (50.2%) did not specify whether BMI was an inclusion or exclusion criterion, or if BMI was included in any ‘health’ screenings or physical examinations during recruitment. Of the 58 protocols for trials in phase III and IV, only 2 (3.4%) indicated an intention to report subgroup analysis of vaccine efficacy by weight status. Higher weight people appear to be significantly under-represented in the majority of vaccine trials. This may result in reduced efficacy and acceptance of COVID-19 vaccines for higher weight people and exacerbation of health inequities within this population group. Explicit inclusion of higher weight people in COVID-19 vaccine trials is required to reduce health inequities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Vaccines: Uptake and Equity in Times of the COVID-19 Pandemic)
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Article
Predictors of COVID-19 Vaccination among Veterans Experiencing Homelessness
Vaccines 2021, 9(11), 1268; https://doi.org/10.3390/vaccines9111268 - 03 Nov 2021
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1123
Abstract
Sufficient uptake of the COVID-19 vaccine is key to slowing the spread of the coronavirus among the most vulnerable in society, including individuals experiencing homelessness. However, COVID-19 vaccination rates among the Veteran homeless population are currently unknown. This study examines the COVID-19 vaccination [...] Read more.
Sufficient uptake of the COVID-19 vaccine is key to slowing the spread of the coronavirus among the most vulnerable in society, including individuals experiencing homelessness. However, COVID-19 vaccination rates among the Veteran homeless population are currently unknown. This study examines the COVID-19 vaccination rate among homeless Veterans who receive care at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), and the factors that are associated with vaccine uptake. Using VA administrative and clinical data, bivariate and multivariate analyses were conducted to identify the sociodemographic, health-related, and healthcare and housing services utilization factors that influenced COVID-19 vaccine uptake during the first eight months of the vaccine rollout (December 2020–August 2021). Of the 83,528 Veterans experiencing homelessness included in the study, 45.8% were vaccinated for COVID-19. Non-white, older Veterans (65+), females, those who received the seasonal flu vaccine, and Veterans with multiple comorbidities and mental health conditions were more likely to be vaccinated. There was a strong association between COVID-19 vaccination and Veterans who utilized VA healthcare and housing services. VA healthcare and homeless service providers are particularly well-positioned to provide trusted information and overcome access barriers for homeless Veterans to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Vaccines: Uptake and Equity in Times of the COVID-19 Pandemic)
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Article
Disparities in COVID-19 Vaccination among Low-, Middle-, and High-Income Countries: The Mediating Role of Vaccination Policy
Vaccines 2021, 9(8), 905; https://doi.org/10.3390/vaccines9080905 - 14 Aug 2021
Cited by 19 | Viewed by 2274
Abstract
Inequity in the access to and deployment of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccines has brought about great challenges in terms of resolving the pandemic. Aiming to analyze the association between country income level and COVID-19 vaccination coverage and explore the mediating role [...] Read more.
Inequity in the access to and deployment of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccines has brought about great challenges in terms of resolving the pandemic. Aiming to analyze the association between country income level and COVID-19 vaccination coverage and explore the mediating role of vaccination policy, we conducted a cross-sectional ecological study. The dependent variable was COVID-19 vaccination coverage in 138 countries as of May 31, 2021. A single-mediator model based on structural equation modeling was developed to analyze mediation effects in different country income groups. Compared with high-income countries, upper-middle- (β = −1.44, 95% CI: −1.86–−1.02, p < 0.001), lower-middle- (β = −2.24, 95% CI: −2.67–−1.82, p < 0.001), and low- (β = −4.05, 95% CI: −4.59–−3.51, p < 0.001) income countries had lower vaccination coverage. Vaccination policies mediated 14.6% and 15.6% of the effect in upper-middle- (β = −0.21, 95% CI: −0.39–−0.03, p = 0.020) and lower-middle- (β = −0.35, 95% CI: −0.56–−0.13, p = 0.002) income countries, respectively, whereas the mediation effect was not significant in low-income countries (β = −0.21, 95% CI: −0.43–0.01, p = 0.062). The results were similar after adjusting for demographic structure and underlying health conditions. Income disparity remains an important cause of vaccine inequity, and the tendency toward “vaccine nationalism” restricts the functioning of the global vaccine allocation framework. Stronger mechanisms are needed to foster countries’ political will to promote vaccine equity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Vaccines: Uptake and Equity in Times of the COVID-19 Pandemic)
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Article
The Long and Winding Road: Uptake, Acceptability, and Potential Influencing Factors of COVID-19 Vaccination in Austria
Vaccines 2021, 9(7), 790; https://doi.org/10.3390/vaccines9070790 - 15 Jul 2021
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 2355
Abstract
Acceptance of the COVID-19 vaccine will play a crucial role in combating the current pandemic. Vaccine rollouts have started in most countries. To reach the desirable vaccine coverage and to enhance its uptake, it is imperative to assess vaccine hesitancy. Methods: To assess [...] Read more.
Acceptance of the COVID-19 vaccine will play a crucial role in combating the current pandemic. Vaccine rollouts have started in most countries. To reach the desirable vaccine coverage and to enhance its uptake, it is imperative to assess vaccine hesitancy. Methods: To assess the current vaccine acceptability in Austria and its influencing factors, an online survey was created and comprised fifteen questions segmented into a sociodemographic part and the acceptance and influencing factors of the approval of the COVID-19 vaccine. Results: In total, 70% of the 1350 respondents thought that the COVID-19 vaccine is an effective way to prevent and control the virus, while 13% disagreed and 17% were uncertain. Further, 71% approved the rapid development and rollout of the vaccine, while 55% were willing to accept the vaccine as soon as it became available, 18% did not want to get the vaccine, 17% wanted to delay, and 10% were already vaccinated. Conclusions: The results show a generally positive attitude towards the new COVID-19 vaccine. The doctor’s recommendation greatly influences the decision-making process, and tailored vaccine information can support a higher vaccine coverage. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Vaccines: Uptake and Equity in Times of the COVID-19 Pandemic)
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Article
Efficiency in COVID-19 Vaccination Campaigns—A Comparison across Germany’s Federal States
Vaccines 2021, 9(7), 788; https://doi.org/10.3390/vaccines9070788 - 14 Jul 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1421
Abstract
Vaccination programs are considered a central pillar of the efforts to stop COVID-19. However, vaccine doses are scarce and several organizational and logistical obstacles, such as the timing of and reserves for second shots and delivery failures, apparently slow down vaccination roll-outs in [...] Read more.
Vaccination programs are considered a central pillar of the efforts to stop COVID-19. However, vaccine doses are scarce and several organizational and logistical obstacles, such as the timing of and reserves for second shots and delivery failures, apparently slow down vaccination roll-outs in several countries. Moreover, it is an open question as to where vaccines are administered as efficiently as possible (vaccination centers, hospitals, doctor’s offices, pharmacists, etc.). The first aim of our study was to systematically evaluate the efficiency of a country’s vaccination campaign. The second aim was to analyze how the integration of doctors’ offices into a campaign that formerly relied only on vaccination centers affected the speed of that campaign. Using data on vaccine deliveries and vaccinations given in Germany, we find considerable differences across federal states in terms of efficiency, defined as the ability to administer the most vaccinations out of a given number of available doses. Back-of-the-envelope calculations for January to May 2021 show that vaccinations would have been 3.4–6.9% higher if all federal states had adopted a similar ratio between vaccinations given and vaccines stored, as the most efficient states did. This corresponds to 1.7–3.3% of Germany’s total population. In terms of our second research goal, we find evidence that the integration of doctors’ offices into the vaccination campaign significantly increased the ratio of vaccinations administered out of a given stock of vaccine doses. On average, there appears to be a structural break in this ratio after doctors’ offices were integrated into the vaccination campaign on 5 April 2021. On average, an additional 11.6 out of 100 available doses were administered each week compared to the period prior to that date. We conclude that there are considerable regional differences in the efficiency of the vaccination roll-out. Systematic efficiency analyses are one step to detecting inefficiencies and to identify best practices that can be adopted to eventually speed up the vaccination roll-out in a country. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Vaccines: Uptake and Equity in Times of the COVID-19 Pandemic)
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Article
Predictors of COVID-19 Vaccine Hesitancy: Socio-Demographics, Co-Morbidity, and Past Experience of Racial Discrimination
Vaccines 2021, 9(7), 767; https://doi.org/10.3390/vaccines9070767 - 09 Jul 2021
Cited by 37 | Viewed by 5770
Abstract
The goal of this study is to explore predictors of COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy, including socio-demographic factors, comorbidity, risk perception, and experience of discrimination, in a sample of the U.S. population. We used a cross-sectional online survey study design, implemented between 13–23 December 2020. [...] Read more.
The goal of this study is to explore predictors of COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy, including socio-demographic factors, comorbidity, risk perception, and experience of discrimination, in a sample of the U.S. population. We used a cross-sectional online survey study design, implemented between 13–23 December 2020. The survey was limited to respondents residing in the USA, belonging to priority groups for vaccine distribution. Responses were received from 2650 individuals (response rate 84%) from all 50 states and Puerto Rico, American Samoa, and Guam. The five most represented states were California (13%), New York (10%), Texas (7%), Florida (6%), and Pennsylvania (4%). The majority of respondents were in the age category 25–44 years (66%), male (53%), and working in the healthcare sector (61%). Most were White and non-Hispanic (66%), followed by Black and non-Hispanic (14%) and Hispanic (8%) respondents. Experience with racial discrimination was a predictor of vaccine hesitancy. Those reporting racial discrimination had 21% increased odds of being at a higher level of hesitancy compared to those who did not report such experience (OR = 1.21, 95% C.I. 1.01–1.45). Communication and logistical aspects during the COVID-19 vaccination campaign need to be sensitive to individuals’ past-experience of racial discrimination in order to increase vaccine coverage. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Vaccines: Uptake and Equity in Times of the COVID-19 Pandemic)
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Article
Willingness to Receive the COVID-19 and Seasonal Influenza Vaccines among the Saudi Population and Vaccine Uptake during the Initial Stage of the National Vaccination Campaign: A Cross-Sectional Survey
Vaccines 2021, 9(7), 765; https://doi.org/10.3390/vaccines9070765 - 08 Jul 2021
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 1423
Abstract
This study aimed to assess the willingness to receive the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and seasonal influenza vaccines and vaccine uptake during the early stage of the national vaccination campaign in Saudi Arabia. A cross-sectional online survey was conducted among adult Saudis between [...] Read more.
This study aimed to assess the willingness to receive the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and seasonal influenza vaccines and vaccine uptake during the early stage of the national vaccination campaign in Saudi Arabia. A cross-sectional online survey was conducted among adult Saudis between 20 January and 20 March 2021. The questionnaire addressed vaccine hesitancy, perceived risk, willingness, and vaccine uptake. Approximately 39% of the participants expressed vaccine hesitancy, and 29.8% and 24% felt highly vulnerable to contracting COVID-19 and seasonal influenza, respectively. The majority (59.5%) were willing to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, although only 31.7% were willing to receive the flu vaccine. Adjusted analysis showed that vaccine hesitancy (OR 0.34, 95% CI 0.27–0.43) and the perception of being at high risk (OR 2.78, 95% CI 1.68–4.60) independently affected the intention to be vaccinated. Vaccine hesitancy was similar among those who were willing to be vaccinated (29.8%) and those who had already been vaccinated (33.1%). The perceived risk was significantly higher among those who had been vaccinated (48.1%) than among those who were willing to be vaccinated but had not yet been vaccinated (29.1%). In conclusion, the acceptance of the COVID-19 vaccine in Saudi Arabia is high. Saudis who received the vaccine had a similar level of vaccine hesitancy and a higher level of perceived risk. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Vaccines: Uptake and Equity in Times of the COVID-19 Pandemic)
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Article
Antivaccine Movement and COVID-19 Negationism: A Content Analysis of Spanish-Written Messages on Twitter
Vaccines 2021, 9(6), 656; https://doi.org/10.3390/vaccines9060656 - 15 Jun 2021
Cited by 15 | Viewed by 2608
Abstract
During the COVID-19 pandemic, different conspiracies have risen, with the most dangerous being those focusing on vaccines. Today, there exists a social media movement focused on destroying the credibility of vaccines and trying to convince people to ignore the advice of governments and [...] Read more.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, different conspiracies have risen, with the most dangerous being those focusing on vaccines. Today, there exists a social media movement focused on destroying the credibility of vaccines and trying to convince people to ignore the advice of governments and health organizations on vaccination. Our aim was to analyze a COVID-19 antivaccination message campaign on Twitter that uses Spanish as the main language, to find the key elements in their communication strategy. Twitter data were retrieved from 14 to 28 December using NodeXL software. We analyzed tweets in Spanish, focusing on influential users, most influential tweets, and content analysis of tweets. The results revealed ordinary citizens who ‘offer the truth’ as the most important profile in this network. The content analysis showed antivaccine tweets (31.05%) as the most frequent. The analysis of anti-COVID19 tweets showed that attacks against vaccine safety were the most important (79.87%) but we detected a new kind of message presenting the vaccine as a means of manipulating the human genetic code (8.1%). We concluded that the antivaccine movement and its tenets have great influence in the COVID-19 negationist movement. We observed a new topic in COVID-19 vaccine hoaxes that must be considered in our fight against misinformation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Vaccines: Uptake and Equity in Times of the COVID-19 Pandemic)
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Article
Hesitancy towards COVID-19 Vaccination among Healthcare Workers: A Multi-Centric Survey in France
Vaccines 2021, 9(6), 547; https://doi.org/10.3390/vaccines9060547 - 22 May 2021
Cited by 21 | Viewed by 2814
Abstract
Vaccination programs against COVID-19 are being scaled up. We aimed to assess the effects of vaccine characteristics on vaccine hesitancy among healthcare workers in a multi-center survey conducted within French healthcare facilities from 1 December 2020 to 26 March 2021. We invited any [...] Read more.
Vaccination programs against COVID-19 are being scaled up. We aimed to assess the effects of vaccine characteristics on vaccine hesitancy among healthcare workers in a multi-center survey conducted within French healthcare facilities from 1 December 2020 to 26 March 2021. We invited any healthcare workers naïve of COVID-19 vaccination to complete an online self-questionnaire. They reported on their socio-demographic characteristics, as well as their perception and beliefs towards vaccination. We measured their willingness to get vaccinated in eight scenarios for candidates’ vaccines presented sequentially (1 to 4-point scale). Candidates’ vaccines varied for efficacy (25%, 50%, 100%), length of immunization (1 year or lifetime), frequency (<1/100, <1/10,000), and severity (none, moderate, severe) of adverse events. We analyzed 4349 healthcare workers’ responses with interpretable questionnaires. The crude willingness to get vaccinated was 53.2% and increased over time. We clustered the trajectories of responses using an unsupervised classification algorithm (k-means) and identified four groups of healthcare workers: those willing to get vaccinated in any scenario (18%), those not willing to get vaccinated at all (22%), and those hesitating but more likely to accept (32%) or reject (28%) the vaccination depending on the scenario. In these last two subgroups, vaccine acceptance was growing with age, educational background and was higher among men with condition. Compared to an ideal vaccine candidate, a 50% reduced efficacy resulted in an average drop in acceptance by 0.8 (SD ± 0.8, −23.5%), while it was ranging from 1.4 (SD ± 1.0, −38.4%) to 2.1 (SD ± 1.0, −58.4%) in case of severe but rare adverse event. The acceptance of a mandatory immunization program was 29.6% overall and was positively correlated to the willingness to get vaccinated, ranging from 2.4% to 60.0%. Even if healthcare workers represent a heterogeneous population, most (80%) could accept the vaccination against COVID-19. Their willingness to get the vaccine increased over time and as immunization programs became available. Among hesitant professionals, the fear of adverse events was the main concern. Targeted information campaigns reassuring about adverse events may increase vaccine coverage, in a population with a strong opinion about mandatory immunization programs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Vaccines: Uptake and Equity in Times of the COVID-19 Pandemic)
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Article
What Arguments against COVID-19 Vaccines Run on Facebook in Poland: Content Analysis of Comments
Vaccines 2021, 9(5), 481; https://doi.org/10.3390/vaccines9050481 - 10 May 2021
Cited by 15 | Viewed by 7420
Abstract
Social media allow anti-vaxxers to quickly spread misinformation and false statements. This situation may lead to an increase in vaccine hesitancy. We wanted to characterize what arguments against COVID-19 vaccines run on Facebook in Poland. We analyzed Facebook comments related to the five [...] Read more.
Social media allow anti-vaxxers to quickly spread misinformation and false statements. This situation may lead to an increase in vaccine hesitancy. We wanted to characterize what arguments against COVID-19 vaccines run on Facebook in Poland. We analyzed Facebook comments related to the five events of the introduction of COVID-19 vaccines—announcements of the efficacy of the Pfizer-BioNTech (09.11.2020), Moderna (16.11.2020), and AstraZeneca (23.11.2020) vaccines, registration of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine by the European Medicines Agency (21.12.2020), and the first vaccination in Poland (27.12.2020). We collected the comments from fanpages of the biggest Polish media and then established their main anti-vaccine themes. We found that the negative arguments about COVID-19 vaccines can be divided into 12 categories. Seven of them are universal and also apply to other vaccines but five are new and COVID-19’ specific. The frequency of arguments from a given category varied over time. We also noticed that, while the comments were mostly negative, the reactions were positive. Created codebook of anti-vaccine COVID-19 arguments can be used to monitor the attitude of society towards COVID-19 vaccines. Real-time monitoring of social media is important because the popularity of certain arguments on Facebook changes rapidly over time. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Vaccines: Uptake and Equity in Times of the COVID-19 Pandemic)
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Article
COVID-19 Vaccination Intent and Willingness to Pay in Bangladesh: A Cross-Sectional Study
Vaccines 2021, 9(5), 416; https://doi.org/10.3390/vaccines9050416 - 21 Apr 2021
Cited by 34 | Viewed by 3995
Abstract
This article reports the intent to receive a SARS-COV-2 vaccine, its predictors and willingness to pay in Bangladesh. We carried out an online cross-sectional survey of 697 adults from the general population of Bangladesh in January 2021. A structured questionnaire was used to [...] Read more.
This article reports the intent to receive a SARS-COV-2 vaccine, its predictors and willingness to pay in Bangladesh. We carried out an online cross-sectional survey of 697 adults from the general population of Bangladesh in January 2021. A structured questionnaire was used to assess vaccination intent. The questionnaire included sociodemographic variables and health belief model constructs which may predict vaccination intent. Among the participants, 26% demonstrated a definite intent, 43% probable intent, 24% probable negative, and 7% a definite negative intention. Multivariable logistic regression analyses suggest an association between definite intent and previous COVID-19 infection (OR: 2.86; 95% CI: 1.71–4.78), perceiving COVID-19 as serious (OR: 1.93; 1.04–3.59), the belief that vaccination would make them feel less worried about catching COVID-19 (OR: 4.42; 2.25–8.68), and concerns about vaccine affordability (OR: 1.51; 1.01–2.25). Individuals afraid of the side effects (OR: 0.34; 0.21–0.53) and those who would take the vaccine if the vaccine were taken by many others (OR: 0.44; 0.29–0.67) are less likely to have a definite intent. A definite negative intent is associated with the concern that the vaccine may not be halal (OR: 2.03; 1.04–3.96). Furthermore, 68.4% are willing to pay for the vaccine. The median amount that they are willing to pay is USD 7.08. The study findings reveal that the definite intent to receive the SARS-CoV-2 vaccination among the general population varies depending on their COVID-19-related health beliefs and no significant association was found with sociodemographic variables. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Vaccines: Uptake and Equity in Times of the COVID-19 Pandemic)
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Article
Willingness of Taiwan’s Healthcare Workers and Outpatients to Vaccinate against COVID-19 during a Period without Community Outbreaks
Vaccines 2021, 9(3), 246; https://doi.org/10.3390/vaccines9030246 - 12 Mar 2021
Cited by 48 | Viewed by 3471
Abstract
To control the spread of the novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), COVID-19 vaccination has been quickly developed. However, the COVID-19 pandemic will not be controlled if the COVID-19 vaccination uptake willingness is low. Therefore, the study aim was to explore the COVID-19 vaccination [...] Read more.
To control the spread of the novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), COVID-19 vaccination has been quickly developed. However, the COVID-19 pandemic will not be controlled if the COVID-19 vaccination uptake willingness is low. Therefore, the study aim was to explore the COVID-19 vaccination uptake willingness among the outpatient population and healthcare workers in Taiwan during the worldwide pandemic period without community outbreaks. A cross-sectional survey was conducted among healthcare workers (HCWs; n = 500; mean age = 32.96 years) of National Cheng Kung University Hospital (NCKUH) and outpatients (n = 238; mean age = 34.43 years) arriving at NCKUH. We used an online survey conducted between September 24 and 21 November 2020, for healthcare workers, and between 27 October and 31 December 2020, for the outpatient sample. Information regarding willingness to receive vaccination, willingness to rapid test, fear of COVID-19, risk perception, and preventive behaviors was collected in both samples; information regarding willingness to care for patients was collected in healthcare workers. Willingness to receive vaccination was the main variable in the present study; willingness to rapid test, willingness to care for patients, fear of COVID-19, risk perception, and preventive behaviors were the secondary variables in the study. The factors associated with vaccination willingness were identified through logistic regression analysis. The participants’ willingness to receive vaccination was low for both healthcare workers (23.4%) and the outpatient sample (30.7%). Similarly, their willingness to take rapid tests was low (23.6% for healthcare workers and 28.6% for outpatient sample). Risk perception (crude odds ratio (COR) = 1.29; 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.03, 1.63), willingness to take rapid test (COR = 9.24; 95% CI = 5.76, 14.83), and preventive COVID-19 infection behaviors (COR = 2.32; 95% CI = 1.52, 3.56) were significant factors explaining the healthcare workers’ willingness to receive vaccination. Willingness to take a rapid test (COR = 8.91; 95% CI = 4.71, 16.87) and preventive COVID-19 infection behaviors (COR = 1.69; 95% CI = 1.09, 2.60) were significant factors explaining the outpatient sample’s willingness to receive vaccination. Willingness to vaccinate against COVID-19 among HCWs and outpatients is low due to the relatively safe status of COVID-19 infection in Taiwan. These findings can help policymakers advocate for the effectiveness of and provide transparent information on COVID-19 vaccination uptake in a country/region with a relatively safe COVID-19 outbreak status. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Vaccines: Uptake and Equity in Times of the COVID-19 Pandemic)
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Article
COVID-19 Vaccine Acceptance among Health Care Workers in the United States
Vaccines 2021, 9(2), 119; https://doi.org/10.3390/vaccines9020119 - 03 Feb 2021
Cited by 233 | Viewed by 17903
Abstract
Background: Acceptance of the COVID-19 vaccine will play a major role in combating the pandemic. Healthcare workers (HCWs) are among the first group to receive vaccination, so it is important to consider their attitudes about COVID-19 vaccination to better address barriers to widespread [...] Read more.
Background: Acceptance of the COVID-19 vaccine will play a major role in combating the pandemic. Healthcare workers (HCWs) are among the first group to receive vaccination, so it is important to consider their attitudes about COVID-19 vaccination to better address barriers to widespread vaccination acceptance. Methods: We conducted a cross sectional study to assess the attitude of HCWs toward COVID-19 vaccination. Data were collected between 7 October and 9 November 2020. We received 4080 responses out of which 3479 were complete responses and were included in the final analysis. Results: 36% of respondents were willing to take the vaccine as soon as it became available while 56% were not sure or would wait to review more data. Only 8% of HCWs do not plan to get vaccine. Vaccine acceptance increased with increasing age, education, and income level. A smaller percentage of female (31%), Black (19%), Lantinx (30%), and rural (26%) HCWs were willing to take the vaccine as soon as it became available than the overall study population. Direct medical care providers had higher vaccine acceptance (49%). Safety (69%), effectiveness (69%), and speed of development/approval (74%) were noted as the most common concerns regarding COVID-19 vaccination in our survey. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Vaccines: Uptake and Equity in Times of the COVID-19 Pandemic)
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Article
Vaccination Criteria Based on Factors Influencing COVID-19 Diffusion and Mortality
Vaccines 2020, 8(4), 766; https://doi.org/10.3390/vaccines8040766 - 15 Dec 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2288
Abstract
SARS-CoV-2 is highly contagious, rapidly turned into a pandemic, and is causing a relevant number of critical to severe life-threatening COVID-19 patients. However, robust statistical studies of a large cohort of patients, potentially useful to implement a vaccination campaign, are rare. We analyzed [...] Read more.
SARS-CoV-2 is highly contagious, rapidly turned into a pandemic, and is causing a relevant number of critical to severe life-threatening COVID-19 patients. However, robust statistical studies of a large cohort of patients, potentially useful to implement a vaccination campaign, are rare. We analyzed public data of about 19,000 patients for the period 28 February to 15 May 2020 by several mathematical methods. Precisely, we describe the COVID-19 evolution of a number of variables that include age, gender, patient’s care location, and comorbidities. It prompts consideration of special preventive and therapeutic measures for subjects more prone to developing life-threatening conditions while affording quantitative parameters for predicting the effects of an outburst of the pandemic on public health structures and facilities adopted in response. We propose a mathematical way to use these results as a powerful tool to face the pandemic and implement a mass vaccination campaign. This is done by means of priority criteria based on the influence of the considered variables on the probability of both death and infection. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Vaccines: Uptake and Equity in Times of the COVID-19 Pandemic)
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Article
Is a COVID-19 Vaccine Likely to Make Things Worse?
Vaccines 2020, 8(4), 761; https://doi.org/10.3390/vaccines8040761 - 14 Dec 2020
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 3870
Abstract
In order to limit the disease burden and economic costs associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important to understand how effective and widely distributed a vaccine must be in order to have a beneficial impact on public health. To evaluate the potential [...] Read more.
In order to limit the disease burden and economic costs associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important to understand how effective and widely distributed a vaccine must be in order to have a beneficial impact on public health. To evaluate the potential effect of a vaccine, we developed risk equations for the daily risk of COVID-19 infection both currently and after a vaccine becomes available. Our risk equations account for the basic transmission probability of COVID-19 (β) and the lowered risk due to various protection options: physical distancing; face coverings such as masks, goggles, face shields or other medical equipment; handwashing; and vaccination. We found that the outcome depends significantly on the degree of vaccine uptake: if uptake is higher than 80%, then the daily risk can be cut by 50% or more. However, if less than 40% of people get vaccinated and other protection options are abandoned—as may well happen in the wake of a COVID-19 vaccine—then introducing even an excellent vaccine will produce a worse outcome than our current situation. It is thus critical that effective education strategies are employed in tandem with vaccine rollout. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Vaccines: Uptake and Equity in Times of the COVID-19 Pandemic)
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Review

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Review
Access to Vaccination among Disadvantaged, Isolated and Difficult-to-Reach Communities in the WHO European Region: A Systematic Review
Vaccines 2022, 10(7), 1038; https://doi.org/10.3390/vaccines10071038 - 28 Jun 2022
Viewed by 703
Abstract
Vaccination has a significant impact on morbidity and mortality. High vaccination coverage rates are required to achieve herd protection against vaccine-preventable diseases. However, limited vaccine access and hesitancy among specific communities represent significant obstacles to this goal. This review provides an overview of [...] Read more.
Vaccination has a significant impact on morbidity and mortality. High vaccination coverage rates are required to achieve herd protection against vaccine-preventable diseases. However, limited vaccine access and hesitancy among specific communities represent significant obstacles to this goal. This review provides an overview of critical factors associated with vaccination among disadvantaged groups in World Health Organisation European countries. Initial searches yielded 18,109 publications from four databases, and 104 studies from 19 out of 53 countries reporting 22 vaccine-preventable diseases were included. Nine groups representing the populations of interest were identified, and most of the studies focused on asylum seekers, refugees, migrants and deprived communities. Recall of previous vaccinations received was poor, and serology was conducted in some cases to confirm protection for those who received prior vaccinations. Vaccination coverage was lower among study populations compared to the general population or national average. Factors that influenced uptake, which presented differently at different population levels, included health service accessibility, language and vaccine literacy, including risk perception, disease severity and vaccination benefits. Strategies that could be implemented in vaccination policy and programs were also identified. Overall, interventions specific to target communities are vital to improving uptake. More innovative strategies need to be deployed to improve vaccination coverage among disadvantaged groups. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Vaccines: Uptake and Equity in Times of the COVID-19 Pandemic)
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Review
Targeting COVID Vaccine Hesitancy in Rural Communities in Tennessee: Implications for Extending the COVID-19 Pandemic in the South
Vaccines 2021, 9(11), 1279; https://doi.org/10.3390/vaccines9111279 - 04 Nov 2021
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 1877
Abstract
Approximately 40% of Tennesseans are vaccinated fully, due mainly to higher vaccination levels within urban counties. Significantly lower rates are observed in rural counties. Surveys suggest COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy is entrenched mostly among individuals identifying as white, rural, Republican, and evangelical Christian. Rural [...] Read more.
Approximately 40% of Tennesseans are vaccinated fully, due mainly to higher vaccination levels within urban counties. Significantly lower rates are observed in rural counties. Surveys suggest COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy is entrenched mostly among individuals identifying as white, rural, Republican, and evangelical Christian. Rural counties represent 70 of the total 95 counties in Tennessee, and vaccine hesitancy signifies an immediate public health crisis likely to extend the COVID-19 pandemic. Tennessee is a microcosm of the pandemic’s condition in the Southern U.S. Unvaccinated communities are the greatest contributors of new COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations, and deaths. Rural Tennesseans have a long history of cultural conservatism, poor health literacy, and distrust of government and medical establishments and are more susceptible to misinformation and conspiracy theories. Development of novel strategies to increase vaccine acceptance is essential. Here, I examine the basis of COVID-19 following SARS-CoV-2 infection and summarize the pandemic’s extent in the South, current vaccination rates and efforts across Tennessee, and underlying factors contributing to vaccine hesitancy. Finally, I discuss specific strategies to combat COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy. We must develop novel strategies that go beyond financial incentives, proven ineffective toward vaccinations. Successful strategies for vaccine acceptance of rural Tennesseans could increase acceptance among unvaccinated rural U.S. populations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Vaccines: Uptake and Equity in Times of the COVID-19 Pandemic)
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Review
COVID-19 Vaccine Donations—Vaccine Empathy or Vaccine Diplomacy? A Narrative Literature Review
Vaccines 2021, 9(9), 1024; https://doi.org/10.3390/vaccines9091024 - 15 Sep 2021
Cited by 24 | Viewed by 4747
Abstract
Introduction: Vaccine inequality inflames the COVID-19 pandemic. Ensuring equitable immunization, vaccine empathy is needed to boost vaccine donations among capable countries. However, damaging narratives built around vaccine donations such as “vaccine diplomacy” could undermine nations’ willingness to donate their vaccines, which, in turn, [...] Read more.
Introduction: Vaccine inequality inflames the COVID-19 pandemic. Ensuring equitable immunization, vaccine empathy is needed to boost vaccine donations among capable countries. However, damaging narratives built around vaccine donations such as “vaccine diplomacy” could undermine nations’ willingness to donate their vaccines, which, in turn, further exacerbate global vaccine inequality. However, while discussions on vaccine diplomacy are on the rise, there is limited research related to vaccine diplomacy, especially in terms of its characteristics and effects on vaccine distribution vis-à-vis vaccine empathy. Thus, to bridge the research gap, this study aims to examine the defining attributes of vaccine diplomacy and its potential effects on COVID-19 immunization, particularly in light of vaccine empathy. Methods: A narrative review was conducted to shed light on vaccine diplomacy’s defining attributes and effects in the context of COVID-19 vaccine distribution and dissemination. Databases such as PubMed and Medline were utilized for literature search. Additionally, to ensure up-to-date insights are included in the review, validated reports and reverse tracing of eligible articles’ reference lists in Google Scholar have also been conducted to locate relevant records. Results: Vaccine empathy is an individual or a nation’s capability to sympathize with other individuals or nations’ vaccine wants and needs, whereas vaccine diplomacy is a nation’s vaccine efforts that aim to build mutually beneficial relationships with other nations ultimately. Our findings show that while both vaccine empathy and vaccine diplomacy have their strengths and weaknesses, they all have great potential to improve vaccine equality, particularly amid fast-developing and ever-evolving global health crises such as COVID-19. Furthermore, analyses show that, compared to vaccine empathy, vaccine diplomacy might be a more sustainable solution to improve vaccine donations mainly because of its deeper and stronger roots in multilateral collaboration and cooperation. Conclusion: Similar to penicillin, automated external defibrillators, or safety belts amid a roaring global health disaster, COVID-19 vaccines are, essentially, life-saving consumer health products that should be available to those who need them. Though man-made and complicated, vaccine inequality is nonetheless a solvable issue—gaps in vaccine distribution and dissemination can be effectively addressed by timely vaccine donations. Overall, our study underscores the instrumental and indispensable role of vaccine diplomacy in addressing the vaccine inequality issue amid the COVID-19 pandemic and its potentials for making even greater contributions in forging global solidarity amid international health emergencies. Future research could investigate approaches that could further inspire and improve vaccine donations among capable nations at a global scale to advance vaccine equity further. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Vaccines: Uptake and Equity in Times of the COVID-19 Pandemic)
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Review
COVID-19 Vaccine Hesitancy—A Scoping Review of Literature in High-Income Countries
Vaccines 2021, 9(8), 900; https://doi.org/10.3390/vaccines9080900 - 13 Aug 2021
Cited by 108 | Viewed by 13649
Abstract
Vaccine hesitancy forms a critical barrier to the uptake of COVID-19 vaccine in high-income countries or regions. This review aims to summarize rates of COVID-19 hesitancy and its determinants in high-income countries or regions. A scoping review was conducted in Medline®, [...] Read more.
Vaccine hesitancy forms a critical barrier to the uptake of COVID-19 vaccine in high-income countries or regions. This review aims to summarize rates of COVID-19 hesitancy and its determinants in high-income countries or regions. A scoping review was conducted in Medline®, Embase®, CINAHL®, and Scopus® and was reported in accordance with the PRISMA-SCr checklist. The search was current as of March 2021. Studies which evaluated COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy and its determinants in high-income countries (US$12,536 or more GNI per capita in 2019) were included. Studies conducted in low, lower-middle, and upper-middle income countries or regions were excluded. Factors associated with vaccine hesitancy were grouped into four themes (vaccine specific, individual, group, or contextual related factors). Of 2237 articles retrieved, 97 articles were included in this review. Most studies were conducted in U.S. (n = 39) and Italy (n = 9). The rates of vaccine hesitancy across high-income countries or regions ranged from 7–77.9%. 46 studies (47.4%) had rates of 30% and more. Younger age, females, not being of white ethnicity and lower education were common contextual factors associated with increased vaccine hesitancy. Lack of recent history of influenza vaccination, lower self-perceived risk of contracting COVID-19, lesser fear of COVID-19, believing that COVID-19 is not severe and not having chronic medical conditions were most frequently studied individual/group factors associated with increased vaccine hesitancy. Common vaccine-specific factors associated with increased vaccine hesitancy included beliefs that vaccine are not safe/effective and increased concerns about rapid development of COVID-19 vaccines. Given the heterogeneity in vaccine hesitancy definitions used across studies, there is a need for standardization in its assessment. This review has summarized COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy determinants that national policymakers can use when formulating health policies related to COVID-19 vaccination. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Vaccines: Uptake and Equity in Times of the COVID-19 Pandemic)
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Review
Current State of the First COVID-19 Vaccines
Vaccines 2021, 9(1), 30; https://doi.org/10.3390/vaccines9010030 - 08 Jan 2021
Cited by 41 | Viewed by 8834
Abstract
SARS CoV-2 and its associated disease COVID-19 has devastated the world during 2020. Masks and social distancing could be efficient if done by large proportions of the population, but pandemic fatigue has decreased their efficacy. Economic shut downs come with large price tags [...] Read more.
SARS CoV-2 and its associated disease COVID-19 has devastated the world during 2020. Masks and social distancing could be efficient if done by large proportions of the population, but pandemic fatigue has decreased their efficacy. Economic shut downs come with large price tags and cannot be a long term solution either. The announcements by three vaccine manufacturers in November that their vaccines are 90% or more effective has given hope to at least those in the population who plan to get vaccinated as soon as a scientifically and medically sound vaccine becomes available. This review summarizes the underlying design strategies and current status of development of the nine vaccines that were in phase III trial on 8 November 2020. Contracts between vaccine manufacturing companies and governments aim at distributing the vaccine to a large part of the world population. Questions remain how the temperature sensitive mRNA vaccines will be transported and/or stored and how vaccination will be prioritized within each country. Additionally, current contracts do not cover all countries, with a serious gap in Africa and South America. The second part of this review will detail current distribution plans and remaining challenges with vaccine accessibility and acceptance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Vaccines: Uptake and Equity in Times of the COVID-19 Pandemic)
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Other

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Project Report
The Burden of COVID-19 in Children and Its Prevention by Vaccination: A Joint Statement of the Israeli Pediatric Association and the Israeli Society for Pediatric Infectious Diseases
Vaccines 2022, 10(1), 81; https://doi.org/10.3390/vaccines10010081 - 06 Jan 2022
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 3169
Abstract
As of October 2021, SARS-CoV-2 infections were reported among 512,613 children and adolescents in Israel (~33% of all COVID-19 cases). The 5–11-year age group accounted for about 43% (223,850) of affected children and adolescents. In light of the availability of the Pfizer-BioNTech BNT162b2 [...] Read more.
As of October 2021, SARS-CoV-2 infections were reported among 512,613 children and adolescents in Israel (~33% of all COVID-19 cases). The 5–11-year age group accounted for about 43% (223,850) of affected children and adolescents. In light of the availability of the Pfizer-BioNTech BNT162b2 vaccine against COVID-19 for children aged 5–11 years, we aimed to write a position paper for pediatricians, policymakers and families regarding the clinical aspects of COVID-19 and the vaccination of children against COVID-19. The first objective of this review was to describe the diverse facets of the burden of COVID-19 in children, including the direct effects of hospitalization during the acute phase of the disease, multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children, long COVID and the indirect effects of social isolation and interruption in education. In addition, we aimed to provide an update regarding the efficacy and safety of childhood mRNA COVID-19 vaccination and to instill confidence in pediatricians regarding the benefits of vaccinating children against COVID-19. We reviewed up-to-date Israeli and international epidemiological data and literature regarding COVID-19 morbidity and its sequelae in children, vaccine efficacy in reducing COVID-19-related morbidity and SARS-CoV-2 transmission and vaccine safety data. We conducted a risk–benefit analysis regarding the vaccination of children and adolescents. We concluded that vaccines are safe and effective and are recommended for all children aged 5 to 11 years to protect them from COVID-19 and its complications and to reduce community transmissions. Based on these data, after weighing the benefits of vaccination versus the harm, the Israeli Ministry of Health decided to recommend vaccination for children aged 5–11 years. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Vaccines: Uptake and Equity in Times of the COVID-19 Pandemic)
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Project Report
Changing Attitudes toward the COVID-19 Vaccine among North Carolina Participants in the COVID-19 Community Research Partnership
Vaccines 2021, 9(8), 916; https://doi.org/10.3390/vaccines9080916 - 17 Aug 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1556
Abstract
Coronavirus Disease-2019 (COVID-19) vaccine acceptance is variable. We surveyed participants in the COVID-19 Community Research Partnership from 17 December 2020 to 13 January 2021 to assess vaccine receptiveness. Vaccine uptake was then monitored until 15 May 2021; 20,232 participants responded to the receptiveness [...] Read more.
Coronavirus Disease-2019 (COVID-19) vaccine acceptance is variable. We surveyed participants in the COVID-19 Community Research Partnership from 17 December 2020 to 13 January 2021 to assess vaccine receptiveness. Vaccine uptake was then monitored until 15 May 2021; 20,232 participants responded to the receptiveness survey with vaccination status accessed in 18,874 participants via daily follow-up surveys (participants not completing daily surveys ≥30 days to 15 May 2021, were excluded). In the initial survey, 4802 (23.8%) were vaccine hesitant. Hesitancy was most apparent in women (Adjusted RR 0.93, p < 0.001), Black Americans (Adjusted RR 1.39, 1.41, 1.31 to non-Hispanic Whites, Other, and Hispanic or Latino, respectively p < 0.001), healthcare workers (Adjusted RR 0.93, p < 0.001), suburbanites (ref. Urban Adjusted RR 0.85, 0.90 to urban and rural dwellers, respectively, p < 0.01), and those previously diagnosed with COVID-19 (RR 1.20, p < 0.01). Those <50 years were also less accepting of vaccination. Subsequent vaccine uptake was 99% in non-hesitant participants. For those who were unsure, preferred not to answer, or answered “no”, vaccination rates were 80% (Adjusted RR 0.86, p < 0.0001), 78% (Adjusted RR 0.83, p < 0.0001), and 52.7% (Adjusted RR 0.65, p < 0.0001), respectively. These findings suggest that initial intent did not correlate with vaccine uptake in our cohort. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Vaccines: Uptake and Equity in Times of the COVID-19 Pandemic)
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