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Influences of COVID-19 vaccination policy on students’ vaccine acceptance

Thuli G. Mthembu
Samantha Harrison
Kauthar Botha
Jessica Britz
Brittney Katts
Michaela Millar
Zia Sulliman
Vutlhari Zitha


Background: Higher education institutions (HEIs) developed and implemented a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy to facilitate  vaccine acceptance and vaccination among universities’ staff and students. However, little is known about influences of the mandatory vaccination policy on health science students at a university and they tend to result in vaccine hesitancy.

Aim: To explore the influences of the mandatory COVID-19 vaccine policy on health sciences students’ vaccine acceptance at HEIs in  South Africa.

Setting: The study was conducted in one of the universities in the Western Cape Province, South Africa.

Methods: An interpretive qualitative exploratory-descriptive research was conducted with 10 participants who were selected using the  purposive sampling method to participate in semistructured interviews. Data were audio-recorded, transcribed verbatim and  thematically analysed.

Results: Two themes and 12 sub-themes were identified during the data analysis, namely individual and group  influencing factors, as well as contextual influencing factors.

Conclusion: This study revealed that the COVID-19 vaccination mandatory  policy influenced the students’ quality of life, academic performance and well-being. The findings from this study indicate that there were  perceived barriers related to personal and contextual influencing factors than benefits of COVID-19 vaccination.

Contribution: The  understanding of and insight into the influences of the mandatory vaccination policy provided a basis for further strategies that may be  developed to address COVID-19 vaccine infodemic, vaccine hesitancy and its risk effects. This can be done through collaboration with  different stakeholders to educate health science students about the perceived benefits of COVID-19 vaccination. 

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2071-9736
print ISSN: 1025-9848