Healthcare workers' views on mandatory SARS-CoV-2 vaccination in the UK: A cross-sectional, mixed-methods analysis from the UK-REACH study
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AbstractBackground: Several countries now have mandatory SARS-CoV-2 vaccination for healthcare workers (HCWs) or the general population. HCWs' views on this are largely unknown. Using data from the nationwide UK-REACH study we aimed to understand UK HCW's views on improving SARS-CoV-2 vaccination coverage, including mandatory vaccination.
Method(s): Between 21st April and 26th June 2021, we administered an online questionnaire via email to 17 891 UK HCWs recruited as part of a longitudinal cohort from across the UK who had previously responded to a baseline questionnaire (primarily recruited through email) as part of the United Kingdom Research study into Ethnicity And COVID-19 outcomes in Healthcare workers (UK-REACH) nationwide prospective cohort study. We categorised responses to a free-text question "What should society do if people do not get vaccinated against COVID-19?" using qualitative content analysis. We collapsed categories into a binary variable: favours mandatory vaccination or not, using logistic regression to calculate its demographic predictors, and its occupational, health, and attitudinal predictors adjusted for demographics.
Finding(s): Of 5633 questionnaire respondents, 3235 answered the free text question. Median age of free text responders was 47 years (IQR 36-56) and 2705 (74.3%) were female. 18% (n = 578) favoured mandatory vaccination (201 [6%] participants for HCWs and others working with vulnerable populations; 377 [12%] for the general population), but the most frequent suggestion was education (32%, n = 1047). Older HCWs (OR 1.84; 95% CI 1.44-2.34 [>=55 years vs 16 years to <40 years]), HCWs vaccinated against influenza (OR 1.49; 95% CI 1.11-2.01 [2 vaccines vs none]), and with more positive vaccination attitudes generally (OR 1.10; 95% CI 1.06-1.15) were more likely to favour mandatory vaccination, whereas female HCWs (OR= 0.79, 95% CI 0.63-0.96, vs male HCWs) and Black HCWs (OR=0.46, 95% CI 0.25-0.85, vs white HCWs) were less likely to.
Interpretation(s): Only one in six of the HCWs in this large, diverse, UK-wide sample favoured mandatory vaccination. Building trust, educating, and supporting HCWs who are hesitant about vaccination may be more acceptable, effective, and equitable.
Funding(s): MRC-UK Research and Innovation grant (MR/V027549/1) and the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) via the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). Core funding was also provided by NIHR Biomedical Research Centres.