KUMJ | VOL. 21 | NO. 3 | ISSUE 83 | JULY-SEPTEMBER. 2023

Public Awareness and Attitude towards COVID-19 Infection and Vaccines: A cross-sectional national survey in Nepal
Pant S, Bhattarai S, Ranabhat K, Dumre SP, Rajbhandari B, Mudvari A, Bista B, Bhandari R, Adhikari SK, Dhimal M, Gyanwali P

Background To combat COVID-19, high vaccination rates are essential. However, challenges such as vaccine denial, lack of knowledge, and negative attitudes hinder progress. Assessing public understanding of vaccination is crucial to promote acceptance and reducing reluctance. Objective To understand people’s awareness and attitude regarding COVID-19 infection and vaccines in Nepal. Method A cross-sectional web-based survey was conducted among the Nepali population of age 18 years and above in April 2021 during the early phase of vaccination deployment. A structured questionnaire was used to collect awareness data, and a five-point Likert scale was employed to assess participants’ attitudes. The survey categorized participants into two groups based on whether their awareness level or attitude score was above or below the mean. The secondary outcome was the association between socio-demographic factors and COVID-19 awareness or attitude. Result Of 475 eligible participants, 46% had a low level of awareness on COVID-19 infection whereas 56% had low awareness on COVID-19 vaccines. Every six out of ten participants had a positive attitude towards the national COVID-19 vaccination program. Most of the participants had high awareness of COVID-19 symptoms and preventive measures (hand hygiene, physical distancing, mask), but two-thirds had a false perception of vaccine safety and contraindications. People’s education status, occupation, province, and current/prior COVID-19 infection status were found to be significantly associated with their awareness regarding COVID-19 disease or vaccines. Conclusion The study revealed limited COVID-19 awareness among the Nepali population but a positive attitude toward the national vaccination program. Regular updates on COVID-19 and vaccines are important as new variants and vaccines emerge.
Keyword : Attitude, COVID-19 virus, Public awareness, Vaccination