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Misconceptions about COVID-19 vaccine among adults in Saudi Arabia and their associated factor

Citation

Adam, Eman (2022), Misconceptions about COVID-19 vaccine among adults in Saudi Arabia and their associated factor, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.2jm63xsr9

Abstract

It is of the utmost importance for the elements that influence public compliance to the COVID-19 vaccine to be assessed, including misconceptions, rumors, and conspiracy theories. Hence our study aimed to estimate the distribution of the most common misconceptions and their predictors in Saudi Arabia. We distributed an online questionnaire to participants who were 18 years or older at the time of the survey, which included four sections: demographic characteristics of participants, level of their education, their sources of information, and perception of participants regarding eleven of the most common misconceptions in the community.

An evaluation of the relationships between different predictors and acceptance of these misconceptions was conducted using ordinal logistic regression; the most widely accepted misconception was that the vaccine has serious side effects, with 34.8% of participants reporting this.

Accepting this misinformation Factors that were significantly associated with acceptance or refusal of misconceptions were:

Gender, as females in this survey significantly accept rumors more than males (p<0.001);

Educational level, especially secondary school, was associated with a significant decrease in acceptance of misconceptions (p=0.001);

Information source. 60.5% of participants use social media as their primary source of information, and it was also a significant positive predictor of acceptance of misconceptions (p=0.034).

It is of utmost importance to increase assurance in the safety of the vaccine, as it was the most accepted misconception, and to address the elements that affect believing rumors among the population.

Methods

This study is a cross-sectional study in which an online survey was undertaken in Saudi Arabia between the 21st of April to December 28th, 2021. All adult male or female individuals (Citizens and Residents) who were older than 18 years and lived inside the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia during the study were allowed to participate. The data was gathered using a Google form-based Questionnaire and electronic invitations were sent using WhatsApp, Facebook, and Twitter.

In the first section of the questionnaire, participants were informed about the study's purposes and assured about the confidentiality of their information. Their consent was obtained before proceeding with the questionnaire, and they were allowed to withdraw at any time.

A pilot study was initially carried out with 10% of participants beforehand to test the applicability and accessibility of the study sample, to reveal the difficulties in the design and language that may arise in the questions, and to determine the best way to deal with them. The questions were written in the Arabic language because it is the official language of participants and then translated to English. Then results were retranslated back to Arabic to assure that no change in the meaning occurred.

 A Likert scale of 4-points was designed to assess the acceptance of many misconceptions that spread among the public and their predictors. In which agreeance to the misconception denoted the number: Strongly agree (4), Agree (3), Disagree (2); Strongly disagree (1).

Survey Items

The survey consists of two parts; the first section contains questions on the sociodemographic characteristics of participants, including gender, age, profession, and educational level, in addition to the origin of information in regard to COVID-19.

The second section was composed of 11 misconceptions, which were derived from literature, community, social media, and websites, and respondents were requested to demonstrate to what extent they agree or disagree with each of the ten items using a 4-point scale which was categorized into strongly disagree assigned (1) to strongly agree (4).

The eleven misconceptions discussed were:

1) I do not believe in the safety of the COVID-19 vaccine.

2) My genetic material will be affected by the COVID-19 vaccine.

3) A device will be implanted in my body using the COVID-19 vaccine.

4) The COVID-19 vaccine has serious side effects, such as causing a severe allergy.

5) Fertility is decreased in women by the COVID-19 vaccine.

6) I have been infected before with COVID-19 so vaccination is unnecessary.

7) Once I am vaccinated, I don't have to wear a facemask.

8) COVID-19 vaccine will change my test result to positive.

9) I'm unlikely to have complications from Covid-19, so it is not necessary for me to be vaccinated.

10) You can get COVID-19 from the vaccine.

11) If I am vaccinated I am more likely to get another disease.

Funding