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COVID-19 Vaccine, Misinformation, Knowledge, Iraq
Background: The recent coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic has created a serious public health concern worldwide. Shortly after the successful mapping of the genome sequence of SARS-CoV-2 and the declaration of the pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO) in early 2020, scientists and pharmaceutical companies raced against time in efforts to develop vaccines. As of the 18th of February 2021, the WHO had approved at least seven different vaccines to be rolled out worldwide. However, despite the seriousness of the pandemic and its rapid spread, Iraqi society still refrains from taking vaccines against the disease. Although there is an increase in vaccination with the availability of coronavirus vaccines in Iraq, the rate remains below the level required to achieve herd immunity in Iraqi society soon.
Objectives: To assess the spread of COVID-19 vaccine related misinformation in the Iraqi community.
Methods: A cross-sectional study based on an internet survey that contained a 14-item questionnaire to assess public knowledge related to the COVID-19 vaccine.
Results: A total of 1066 participants completed the survey questionnaire. The study showed a high level of COVID-19 vaccine–related misinformation in the Iraqi community. Individuals who are unemployed with low education levels and living in rural areas, those who did not take the vaccine, and those who were unwilling to advise others to take the vaccine had significantly increased the level of COVID-19 vaccine–related misinformation. In addition, this study found that the most common sources of information among participants were websites and social media.
Conclusions: COVID-19 vaccine–related misinformation is widely spread. This aspect must be considered in any planned public measure that aims to control the pandemic.
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