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Original Article

Med Arch. 2022; 76(6): 458-463

Saudi Healthcare Students' Perceptions and Beliefs About Immunizations: a Descriptive, Cross-Sectional Study

Talal Alshammari, Saeed Alqahtani, Mohammed Al Jumaan, Rana Alameri, Abdulaziz Al Ghaseb, Bronwyn Beovich, Samer Al Haliq, Brett Williams.


Background: Immunization has been one of the most successful public health measures ever undertaken. However, a degree of hesitancy about vaccine use still exists. Healthcare professionals are in a unique position to provide advice and education to the public and may influence the decision to undergo immunization. Objective: The aim of this study was to explore perceptions and beliefs regarding immunizations and immunization-preventable diseases. Methods: A descriptive cross-sectional study was undertaken at the Imam Abdulrahman bin Faisal University, located in Dammam, Saudi Arabia. In the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, a survey of 564 Saudi undergraduate healthcare students was conducted. 77.8% of participants replied (439). Information was collected regarding perceptions of; severity of immunization-preventable diseases, contracting these diseases, immunization safety, and immunization beliefs. The statistical analysis was performed using the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (IBM SPSS v25). Non-parametric analyses were utilized. Descriptive data were generated as appropriate, including frequencies, median, and inter-quartile range. Statistical relationships of demographic variables were explored using Kruskal Wallis H-Test and Spearman’s Rank-Order Correlation. A p-value < 0.05 was considered statistically significant. Results: Meningitis was perceived as the most severe disease and COVID-19 as having the highest likelihood of infection. Concern regarding vaccine side effects was most evident for the COVID-19 vaccine. Student year level and profession resulted in statistically significant differences for all three assessed perceptions. Substantial differences were also identified regarding views on immunization belief statements. Conclusion: This study identified considerable heterogeneity in Saudi healthcare students' perceptions and beliefs regarding immunization-preventable diseases and vaccination. Further education is required to produce well-informed and confident healthcare professionals around these issues.

Key words: Beliefs, Healthcare Students, Immunizations, Perceptions.

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