Perceptions, attitudes, and willingness of healthcare and frontline workers to participate in an Ebola vaccine trial in Uganda.

Kimbugwe G Vatrinet R Mwanga JA Kakuru R Mpeirwe D Logoose S Opio K Kambale M Seeley J Grais RF Marquer C Kaleebu P Ssali A
Vaccine 2024 Apr 01; . doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2024.03.053. Epub 2024 04 01
Acceptability Ebola Frontline Healthcare Outbreak Perception Vaccine Willingness Workers


BACKGROUND: Understanding the knowledge, perception and attitudes towards Ebola vaccines is an important factor in ensuring future use of these vaccines. A qualitative methods study embedded in an Ebola vaccine immunogenicity and safety trial (NCT04028349) was conducted to explore the knowledge and perceptions of healthcare (HCWs) and frontline workers (FLWs), about Ebola vaccines and their willingness to participate or recommend participation in Uganda.

METHOD: We carried out focus group discussions and semi-structured interviews before and after vaccination, with 70 HCWs and FLWs who consented to participate in the trial, and in the qualitative component, from August to September 2019. Data were analysed using thematic content analysis.

RESULTS: Respondents showed good knowledge about Ebola and the vaccines in general, and had wide access to information through several channels, including the study team. On prevention, particular attention was given to effective communication within health facilities. Misconceptions were mainly around route of transmission, animal origin and types of vaccines. Previous fears were based on rumours circulating in the community, mainly about the presence of the virus in the vaccine, side effects and intention to harm (e.g. by "the whites"), ultimately insisting on transparency, trust and involvement of local leaders. Acceptability of participation was motivated by the need to protect self and others, and the willingness to advance research. Majority were willing to recommend participation to their community.

CONCLUSIONS: Overall, information sharing leads to a better understanding and acceptance of vaccine trials and a positive vaccination experience can be a deciding factor in the acceptance of others. Particular attention should be paid to involving the community in addressing misconceptions and fears, while ensuring that participants have access to vaccination sites in terms of transport, and that they are properly accommodated at the study site including staying for a reasonable period of time.

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