COVID-19 vaccine demand and hesitancy among university students in Malawi
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- Master's theses (HH) 
To deal with the spread of the coronavirus and thereby the adverse consequences related to the pandemic, reaching high levels of vaccine uptake has been of utmost importance. As of January 1. 2022, only around 8% of the Malawian population has been vaccinated against the coronavirus, leaving the population highly exposed to potential forthcoming outbreaks. There is reason to believe that the low degree of COVID-19 vaccination in the country can be partially warranted by high levels of vaccine hesitancy, as well as unwillingness to seek out vaccination services. Consequently, investigating why individuals are unwilling to get vaccinated is of great importance. This study utilizes survey data gathered from a sample of 764 university students in Lilongwe, Malawi, to identify key factors associated with vaccine demand and hesitancy. Findings indicate that students are substantially more likely to seek out vaccination services than the general population in Malawi. Furthermore, individual perceptions about the effectiveness of vaccines and the risks posed by the coronavirus are identified as strong and significant drivers of vaccination decisions. Conspiracies and myths about the side effects of the vaccines do not seem to be widespread, however, there seems to be much uncertainty associated with the effectiveness and safety of the available vaccines. The study emphasizes the importance of utilizing knowledge about individual behavior, attitudes, and perceptions in development of vaccination strategies and public health communication.