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COVID-19 Vaccine Hesitancy Among People Living with HIV in British Columbia, Canada

COVID-19 Research Area(s): Epidemiology & Public Health, Vaccines & Treatments

The ongoing Coronavirus disease-2019 pandemic(COVID-19) has affected general populations and those with the potential risk of severe outcomes, including people living with HIV (PLHIV). While COVID-19 disproportionately affects marginalized populations confronting socio-economic and gender inequalities, people with HIV face similar challenges.

Contrary to the HIV epidemic that focused exclusively on drug treatment, the COVID-19 era led to the fastest development of vaccines ever seen in modern history. Studies have shown that even though PLHIV are not overrepresented in COVID19 cases they hey had more severe outcomes due to HIV-associated social disparities and comorbidities rather than the HIV infection itself.

The goal of the vaccination program is to prevent and control infectious diseases and ultimately achieve herd immunity; which occurs portion of a population becomes immune to a given disease, decreasing the likelihood of person-to-person transmission. The success of the COVID-19 vaccination program is hinged on following public health recommendations to optimize vaccine uptake which is directly influenced by vaccine behaviours such as vaccine acceptance, hesitancy, and refusal. Considering the paucity of literature on the factors associated with vaccine hesitancy among PLHIV this study is envisioned with the question: What are the determinants of COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy and vaccine uptake among people living with HIV in British Columbia, Canada?

Research Question: What are the determinants of COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy and vaccine uptake among people living with HIV in British Columbia, Canada?

Hypothesis: We hypothesize that health-related factors and low socio-economic factors serve as determinants of vaccine hesitancy among the HIV population in British Columbia.

Methodology: This proposed study is of a cross-sectional design. We will utilize a purposive sampling method to reach out to the sample population who attend the HIV organizations associated with the Pacific Aids Network in the five regional health authorities in British Columbia (Fraser Health Authority (FHA), Interior Health Authority (IHA), Northern Health Authority (NHA), Vancouver Island Health Authority (VIHA), and Vancouver Coastal Health Authority (VCHA)).

The graduate student will collaborate with the Pacific Aids Network and their editor and will distribute Electronic surveys through the institution's weekly newsletter to the members of these organizations via email with attached electronic survey links and scannable QR codes.

Data Analysis:

Data obtained will be analyzed using IBM® SPSS® Statistics 28.0 using descriptive and inferential statistics.

Descriptive Statistics: Participants' sociodemographic characteristics, including age (year of birth), gender, racial origin, education level, employment status, and annual income level (from less than $49,020 to more than $216,511 according to the Canadian tax bracket) will be analyzed descriptively using frequency distribution, central tendency, and variability.

Participants' COVID-19 vaccine uptake rate will also be analyzed descriptively through frequency. For analysis, vaccine uptake will be recorded as receiving at least one dose of the vaccine; those who have received at least one dose will be categorized into the "vaccinated" group, while those who have not received any shot will be categorized as the "Unvaccinated" group.

The modified vaccine hesitancy scale for adults will be scored for each participant, with scores ranging from 10-50, and the frequency of this score will be determined.

The mean score will be determined with the standard deviation for descriptive statistics.

Inferential Statistics: Bi-variate analysis will be carried out using the Chi-squared test of the association. Chi-squared will be used to determine the association between the sociodemographic characteristics and COVID-19 vaccine uptake.

Logistic Regression analysis will be used to predict the odds of being vaccinated with at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine from the associated independent variables, which present a p-value of 10% or less in bivariate analysis.

While considering vaccine hesitancy score as an outcome variable, Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) will be used to detect significant associations between sociodemographic characteristics, COVID-19 uptake, HIV-related factors, perceived COVID-19 vulnerability and vaccine hesitancy, assuming a normal distribution.

Post date: 
Oct 5, 2022