20 Apr 2021
International journal of environmental research and public health;
The purpose of our study was to determine the willingness to be vaccinated against COVID-19 and factors associated with vaccine hesitancy among people with epilepsy (PWE). In December 2020, we performed an online cross-sectional survey of PWE and their caregivers in Lithuania before the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines to the public. The study sample consisted of 111 respondents (44 (39.6%) male, median age 25 years (range 1 to 70)). From 58 PWE who personally responded to the survey, 27 (46.6%) would be willing to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Among the 53 caregivers, 18 (34.0%) would accept the person they care for to be vaccinated. Willingness to be vaccinated was associated with receiving an influenza shot in 2020 (odds ratio (OR) = 9.17, 95% confidence interval (CI = 1.15-73.47), the beliefs that vaccines are generally safe (OR = 7.90, 95% CI = 2.43-25.74) and that they are the only convenient way to gain immunity (OR = 3.91, 95% CI = 1.02-15.05). Respondents were hesitant to accept the COVID-19 vaccine if they thought it could cause the infection (OR = 0.14, 95% CI = 0.04-0.49). COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy is frequent among PWE and their caregivers. It is probably related to erroneous beliefs about their safety and mechanism of action.