Adolescents and youths are a key part of the population that needs to be protected against the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). This is because they are more likely to spread the virus to vulnerable individuals. In view of these concerns, this study investigated the uptake of COVID-19 vaccines and associated factors among adolescents and youths attending secondary schools in Zambia. This cross-sectional study was conducted among 1500 school-going adolescents in Lusaka from September 2022 to November 2022. Overall, 1409 participants took part giving a response rate of 94%. Only 29.2% (n=411) of the participants were vaccinated against COVID-19 at the time of the study. Compared to their unvaccinated counterparts, vaccinated adolescents and youths scored higher for knowledge (66.2% vs 57.8%) and attitudes (76.7% vs 39.4%) regarding COVID-19 vaccines. Healthcare workers, family/friends and social media were key sources of information regarding the vaccine. Factors associated with increased vaccine uptake were positive attitudes (AOR=33.62, 95% CI: 19.92-56.73), indicating it was stressful to follow COVID-19 preventive measures (AOR=1.47, 95% CI: 1.09-1.99), participants in Grade 12 (AOR=3.39, 95% CI: 1.94-5.91), Grade 11 (AOR=2.59, 95% CI: 1.94-5.91), Grade 10 (AOR=3.48, 95% CI: 1.98-6.11) and Grade 9 (AOR=3.04, 95% CI: 1.74-5.32) compared to Grade 8. This study found a relatively low uptake of COVID-19 vaccines among adolescents and youths in Zambia. There is a need to provide adequate strategies to address knowledge and attitude gaps regarding COVID-19 vaccines to improve uptake and reduce future morbidity and mortality.
© 2023 Mudenda et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
Mudenda, S., Meyer, J., Fadare, J., Ogunleye, O., Saleem, Z., Matafwali, S., Daka, V., Chabalenge, B., Chama, J., Mukosha, M., Skosana, P., Witika, B., Kalungia, A., Hamachila, A., Mufwambi, W. & Godman, B. 2023, 'COVID-19 vaccine uptake and associated factors among adolescents and youths: findings and implications for future vaccination programmes', PLoS Global Public Health, 3(9), article no: e0002385. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pgph.0002385