Attitudes towards corona vaccination among medical and nursing staff

COLOGNE. Due to their close contacts with patients, people working in the medical and nursing fields have a higher risk of infecting themselves and others with the COVID-19 coronavirus. Being vaccinated is therefore essential not only for their own protection but also for their patients. Carolin Muschalik and co-authors from the Federal Center for Health Education (BZgA) have now asked whether (and to what extent) the attitudes towards COVID-19 vaccination in this group differ from those in the general population, and whether identified differences could support recommendations for action (Dtsch Arztebl Int 2022;119.DOI: 10.3238/arztebl.m2022.0206).

To address these questions, the authors carried out a Germany-wide survey in the framework of the CoSiD study between 9 July and 5 August, 2021, using computer-assisted web and telephone interviews. The attitudes towards COVID-19 vaccination were collected using the so-called 5C scale, which describes five psychological reasons for or against vaccination. Based on their vaccination status, the views of medical and nursing personnel (n = 506) were compared with those of persons in the general population who were younger than 66 years old and not employed in a medical or nursing field (n = 1505). Differences between the reference group of unvaccinated medical and nursing personnel and the three other groups were determined using linear regressions for complex samples and controlled for age, education, and gender.

The research team found that 82 percent of medical and nursing personnel had been vaccinated at least once, and 75 percent had been vaccinated twice, at the time of the survey. The vaccination rate was similarly high in the general population (81 and 64 percent, respectively). In both groups, unvaccinated people had significantly more negative views about the COVID-19 vaccination than vaccinated people, but unvaccinated medical and nursing personnel were more critical than the unvaccinated general population: they had stronger concerns about the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine and less trust in decisions made by state authorities, and they were less likely to perceive being vaccinated as a collective responsibility. A similar percentage of unvaccinated persons in both groups thought that the COVID-19 vaccination was superfluous, and that COVID-19 did not pose a major threat.

Based on these results, the authors see a need for specific measures to help convince unvaccinated medical and nursing personnel of the benefits of mandatory vaccination. In their opinion, the professional environment in these fields is particularly suitable for this.