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 Table of Contents  
ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2021  |  Volume : 13  |  Issue : 6  |  Page : 985-988  

Acceptance of COVID-19 vaccine among dental professionals: A cross-sectional study among practitioners, residents, and students


1 Department of Conservative Dentistry and Endodontics, Noorul Islam College of Dental Sciences, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, India
2 Department of Periodontics, Noorul Islam College of Dental Sciences, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, India
3 Department of Oral Pathology, Noorul Islam College of Dental Sciences, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, India

Date of Submission22-Apr-2021
Date of Decision02-May-2021
Date of Acceptance09-May-2021
Date of Web Publication10-Nov-2021

Correspondence Address:
J Mahesh
Department of Periodontics, Noorul Islam College of Dental Sciences, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/jpbs.jpbs_342_21

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   Abstract 


Introduction: The COVID-19 pandemic spread rapidly across the world, prompting governments to impose lengthy restrictions on both movement and trade. While lockdowns reduce the prevalence of COVID-19 disease, they may have a negative impact on the economy and job levels. Dental medicine has been one of the most severely impacted industries during this crisis. Dental professionals are exposed to environments with high levels of occupational hazards, additional risks of viral exposure, and transmission. Methods: We analyzed 705 anonymous questionnaires filled out by dentists, dental students, and postgraduate students about their willingness to consider a new SARS-CoV-2 vaccine. Results: Our findings show a statistically significant relationship between an individual's unemployment rate and their ability to be immunized with a SARS-CoV-2 vaccine. Conclusion: As part of the global vaccination program's alertness, these data may be used to forecast patterns in vaccine adoption or denial depending on economic burden during the COVID-19 pandemic by various industries.

Keywords: Acceptance, dental practitioners, vaccine


How to cite this article:
Gopakumar R, Mahesh J, Alexander B, Arya K S, John S, Kumbla S. Acceptance of COVID-19 vaccine among dental professionals: A cross-sectional study among practitioners, residents, and students. J Pharm Bioall Sci 2021;13, Suppl S2:985-8

How to cite this URL:
Gopakumar R, Mahesh J, Alexander B, Arya K S, John S, Kumbla S. Acceptance of COVID-19 vaccine among dental professionals: A cross-sectional study among practitioners, residents, and students. J Pharm Bioall Sci [serial online] 2021 [cited 2022 Oct 7];13, Suppl S2:985-8. Available from: https://www.jpbsonline.org/text.asp?2021/13/6/985/330096




   Introduction Top


Beginning in late December 2019, the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus spread exponentially across the world, wreaking havoc on human mortality, social activity, populations, and health-care systems. Government-imposed lockout times resulted in extraordinary organizational obstructions in a wide range of economic industries, including cultural establishments, hotels, tourism, and transport, eventually leading to skyrocketing unemployment rates. Authorities predict that what has been seen so far is just the tip of the iceberg, and that the resource persons would not be able to determine the aftereffects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the global economy for several years. The International Labour Organization (ILO) has proposed the word “lockdown generation” to refer to youngsters who have been especially impacted by the global market crisis, which may last a decade or longer.[1] On June 15, the ILO reported that 32% of the world's workforce were working in countries where lockdown-related job closures for all, but essential occupations were in effect.[2]

Dentistry and associated residencies have been among the most severely impacted industries. Dental workers are seldom exposed to conditions with elevated levels of occupational hazards caused by aerosols and oral fluids, which adds to the chances of infectious exposure and spread.[3],[4] All elective procedures in India were suspended due to government order during the lockdown period that lasted from March to July 2020. During the pandemic, the only therapies permitted were those for trauma, pain, head-and-neck diseases, and malignant tumors, which were mainly done by Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons (OMFS) surgeons and oral medicine professionals at hospitals. Minor first-aid treatments have been made available in a selected number of public and private dental clinics.

The World Health Organization (WHO) led the global initiative in prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of the COVID-19 pandemic as a critical component of the battle against this evasive pathogen. The development of a vaccine is regarded as the most promising means of restoring normalcy to everyday life and initiating economic recovery. More than ninety vaccine firms and over 100 countries are competing to develop an effective vaccine at the same time across the world.[5] The WHO announced in 2019 that vaccine hesitancy is one of the ten biggest challenges to public health;[6] echoing these claims, a new study discovered that one of the most significant reasons for SARS-CoV-2 vaccine hesitancy is safety concerns.[7] Nonetheless, the availability of the SARS-CoV-2 vaccine does not signal the end of the pandemic due to continued vaccine hesitancy and anti-vaccination campaigns.[8]

The pandemic has also had a major impact on dental schools, associated hospitals, and research laboratories. As a result, most academic projects have been suspended or have experienced drastic modifications with crucial limitations. These difficulties have been exacerbated by a shortage of professional assistance, since certainly experienced laboratory staff belongs to high-risk classes.[9] However, this difficult condition has provided an incentive to re-evaluate our experience and awareness of infection management steps in dentistry and develop new solutions in the post-COVID period. Many that work in close proximity to patients, such as bystanders and emergency professionals, are at a higher risk of viral transmission.[10] This survey provides insight into what dental students and clinicians are going through, attempting to measure dentists' ability and understanding of COVID-19, as well as their approval of the vaccine.


   Methods Top


Any survey has advantages and disadvantages, and the same was seen with the e-survey, where response time was significantly longer as compared to the physical version of a survey. This e-survey was performed in the form of a questionnaire. To avoid confusing the participants, each question had a carefully planned set of choices. All questions were required to be answered, but others, such as medical history, had a choice of preferring not to tell because not everyone wishes to discuss some of their personal information. The Google Forms link was distributed to numerous participants in the aforementioned categories through group chats. All were given a 5-day window to respond to the connection and complete the questionnaire.

Data collection

The survey was conducted using a self-administered, anonymous questionnaire that included three sections: (i) demographic information, (ii) 11 items for the hesitancy toward COVID vaccine among society, awareness about the safety and efficiency, availability, and cost affordance, and (iii) 1 item for employment crisis during pandemic. All of the questions were focused on facts found in existing literature. Based on community debate and pilot research, 11 characteristics were eventually defined as core determinants of vaccination decisions [Figure 1]: one disease-relevant attribute (probability of infection and severity), six vaccine-relevant attributes (vaccine efficacy, vaccine safety, and out-of-pocket vaccination cost), three knowledge and awareness about the COVID vaccine, and one attribute of social acceptance.
Figure 1: Factors influencing vaccination decisions

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   Results Top


According to the findings of our survey, there is a statistically significant relationship between an individual's unemployment rate and their willingness to be immunized with the novel SARS-CoV-2 vaccine [Figure 2]. An increased unemployment rates among the dental professionals positively influences their willingness for Covid 19 vaccinations. While 55% of dental practitioners are willing to receive a vaccine, over 30% of respondents for residents (postgraduate students) and 15% of dental students are willing to be inoculated [Figure 3]. The overall rate of acceptance for a COVID-19 vaccine, according to our survey, is 85%.
Figure 2: Employment and vaccination

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Figure 3: Vaccine acceptance among the participants

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Dentists, including residents, demonstrated a greater tolerance to the forthcoming vaccine.

In comparison to dental students, dental practitioners believed that more time was needed before the vaccine could be put into practice, that they could consider lower least-protection, more serious side effects such as systematic reactions and allergic reactions, and that they could accept more minor lesions or severe lesions.

Of the 705 subjects, 83% accepted that it should be free, and almost half could afford an expense for complete doses. Three-quarters of the dental practitioners would be vaccinated against COVID-19; however, almost one-fifth required more detail before making a final decision. In future, the participants said that they would go to the crowd less often (74%), wash their hands more often (62%), workout (93%), and wear masks (67%). This suggests that the potential disease trend and high likelihood of infection could increase the role of disease-relevant attributes compared to vaccine attributes in the decision-making of dental professionals. According to the study, 35% of professionals, including residents, have already been subjected to COVID prior to vaccination. In this group, 76%of dental practitioners, including teachers, received the first dose of COVID vaccine, and 32% of subjects took the vaccine under social pressure. Three-quarters of the vaccinated participants experienced common side effects such as fever, body pain, and so on. Eighty percent of vaccinated subjects are willing to receive a second dose. Similar or weaker effects of attributes on vaccination preference were found in the dental population. However, dental students seem to be more concerned than practitioners with vaccination safety, social contacts, and case-fatality ratios.


   Discussion Top


Vaccine hesitancy is an ancient problem that poses a significant threat to public health, as shown by the resurgence of some infectious diseases (e.g. measles and pertussis outbreaks).[11],[12],[13],[14],[15] The huge leaps in developing efficacious and safe COVID-19 vaccines within a short period were unparalleled.[16] According to the most recent COVID-19 predictions, a total of 60%–75% immune individuals will be needed to halt further viral replication and community spread of the virus.[17] The cost, efficacy, and length of safety of vaccines tend to be essential factors in achieving such a target.[18],[19] However, vaccine hesitancy can be a conclusive factor that would obstruct the successful control of the current COVID-19 pandemic. Estimates of vaccination acceptance rates can also be useful in planning the actions and prevention programs needed to raise awareness and assure people about the safety and social security of vaccinations, which will help to monitor viral transmission and mitigate the reversed effects of this unforeseen pandemic.[20],[21]

Dental professionals reacted positively to the vaccine and accepted it. They are willing to consider a reduced efficacy of 60%–70% (similar to seasonal influenza vaccine), additional side effects, and a greater number of doses. Practitioners are crucial to the public's decisions to accept the vaccination, which can eventually increase vaccine coverage. Knowledge and acceptance were found to increase dental practitioner's inclination to recommended vaccination. According to one survey conducted in the United Kingdom, nurses with high awareness ratings were more likely to prescribe influenza vaccinations to their parents and were more likely to recommend vaccination to parents in future.[22] The percentage of dental professionals willing to get vaccinated in our study during the epidemic of COVID-19 is much higher than that for the general population as well as previous results in a systematic review during the 2009 H1N1 pandemic (56.1% in the UK, 64% in the US, and 54.7% in Australia).[23],[24],[25],[26] Worried about poor vaccine quality produced by domestic manufacturers, certain professionals may develop vaccine hesitancy, which could influence their own decisions and the vaccination recommendation to the public.


   Conclusion Top


According to this paper, during the pandemic period, there was widespread support for COVID-19 vaccination among India's dental population. Concerns regarding vaccine safety among dentists can hinder future efforts to increase vaccine uptake. To expand vaccine uptake in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, immunization programs should be designed to remove barriers in vaccine price and vaccination convenience. In addition, health education and communication from authoritative sources will be important to alleviate dentists' concerns about vaccine safety.

The widespread prevalence of COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy mandates combined efforts of governments, health policymakers, and media sources, including social media companies. It is recommended to build COVID-19 vaccination trust among the general public, through the spread of timely and clear messages through trusted channels advocating the safety and efficacy of currently available COVID-19 vaccines.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



 
   References Top

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    Figures

  [Figure 1], [Figure 2], [Figure 3]



 

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