University students are a critical group for vaccination programmes against COVID-19, meningococcal disease (MenACWY) and measles, mumps and rubella (MMR). We aimed to evaluate risk factors for vaccine hesitancy and views about on-campus vaccine delivery among university students. Data were obtained through a cross-sectional anonymous online questionnaire study of undergraduate students in June 2021 and analysed by univariate and multivariate tests to detect associations. Complete data were obtained from 827 participants (7.6% response-rate). Self-reporting of COVID-19 vaccine status indicated uptake by two-thirds (64%; 527/827), willing for 23% (194/827), refusal by 5% (40/827) and uncertain results for 8% (66/827). Hesitancy for COVID-19 vaccines was 5% (40/761). COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy was associated with Black ethnicity (aOR, 7.01, 95% CI, 1.8–27.3) and concerns about vaccine side-effects (aOR, 1.72; 95% CI, 1.23–2.39). Uncertainty about vaccine status was frequently observed for MMR (11%) and MenACWY (26%) vaccines. Campus-associated COVID-19 vaccine campaigns were favoured by UK-based students (definitely, 45%; somewhat, 16%) and UK-based international students (definitely, 62%; somewhat, 12%). Limitations of this study were use of use of a cross-sectional approach, self-selection of the response cohort, slight biases in the demographics and a strict definition of vaccine hesitancy. Vaccine hesitancy and uncertainty about vaccine status are concerns for effective vaccine programmes. Extending capabilities of digital platforms for accessing vaccine information and sector-wide implementation of on-campus vaccine delivery are strategies for improving vaccine uptake among students. Future studies of vaccine hesitancy among students should aim to extend our observations to student populations in a wider range of university settings and with broader definitions of vaccine hesitancy.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This research was funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, grant number ES/W00299X/1, by an MRC-UK Research and Innovation and NIHR, entitled UK-REACH, (MR/V027549/1) award and an NIHR Development and Skills Enhancement Award (to M.P.).
© 2022 by the authors.
- university students
- vaccine hesitancy
- vaccine uptake