Perception of students and lecturers of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN) of factors contributing to Covid-19 vaccine hesitancy (VH) and the roles of social workers
Keywords:COVID-19, vaccine hesitancy, factors, students, social workers, University of Nigeria
Vaccine hesitancy (VH) is the general public's reluctance to use vaccines despite perceived public health benefits. The COVID-19 vaccine met this apathy; as a result, it has become a global threat, impeding efforts to combat the pandemic. This research examined the perception of students and lecturers of University of Nigeria, Nsukka on factors that contribute to vaccine hesitancy. The study used an exploratory research design with an in-depth interview guide utilised as a data collection instrument to elicit the perspectives of 10 study participants (five students and five academic staff members) randomly selected from five faculties. Data were recorded and transcribed verbatim. Key themes were extracted following reflexive thematic analysis. The results were around four distinct themes: assessment of VH, factors responsible for VH, effects of VH, and social work strategies to overcome VH. The study concludes that social workers must act as change agents by participating in public education campaigns and community education about the importance of the vaccine, as well as dispelling misinformation that leads to vaccine apathy. To combat hesitancy, we recommend that government and non-governmental organisations provide adequate resources for social workers to carry out this task and establish health education and information centres in rural communities and on university campuses.