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The effects of misinformation on COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy in Bangladesh

Md. Rifat Mahmud (Department of Information Science and Library Management, University of Dhaka, Dhaka, Bangladesh)
Raiyan Bin Reza (Department of Information Science and Library Management, University of Dhaka, Dhaka, Bangladesh)
S.M. Zabed Ahmed (Department of Information Science and Library Management, University of Dhaka, Dhaka, Bangladesh)

Global Knowledge, Memory and Communication

ISSN: 2514-9342

Article publication date: 24 October 2021

Issue publication date: 10 January 2023

748

Abstract

Purpose

The main purpose of this study is to assess the prevalence of COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy among the general population in Bangladesh and the role of misinformation in this process.

Design/methodology/approach

An online survey was conducted to assess COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy among ordinary citizens. In addition to demographic and vaccine-related information, a five-point Likert scale was used to measure vaccine-related misinformation beliefs and how to counter them. Chi-square tests were used to examine the relationship between demographic variables and vaccine acceptance. A binary logistic regression analysis was conducted to identify vaccine hesitancy by different demographic groups. Nonparametric Mann–Whitney and Kruskal–Wallis tests were performed to determine the significance of difference between demographic groups in terms of their vaccine-related misinformation beliefs. Finally, the total misinformation score was computed to examine the correlation between vaccine hesitancy and the total score.

Findings

This study found that nearly half of the respondents were willing to receive COVID-19 vaccine, whereas more than one third of the participants were unsure about taking the vaccine. Demographic variables (e.g., gender, age and education) were found to be significantly related to COVID-19 vaccine acceptance. The results of binary logistic regression analysis showed that respondents who were below 40 years of age, females and those who had lower education attainments had significantly higher odds of vaccine hesitancy. There were significant differences in participants’ vaccine-related misinformation beliefs based on their demographic characteristics, particularly in the case of educational accomplishments. A highly significant negative correlation was found between total misinformation score and vaccine acceptance.

Research limitations/implications

The survey was conducted online, and therefore, it automatically precluded non-internet users from completing the survey. Further, the number of participants from villages was relatively low. Overall, the results may not be representative of the entire population in Bangladesh.

Practical implications

The findings of this paper could guide government agencies and policymakers in devising appropriate strategies to counter COVID-related misinformation to reduce the level of vaccine hesitancy in Bangladesh.

Originality/value

To the authors’ best knowledge, this study is the first to measure the level of COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy and the influence of misinformation in this process among the general public in Bangladesh.

Keywords

Citation

Mahmud, M.R., Bin Reza, R. and Ahmed, S.M.Z. (2023), "The effects of misinformation on COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy in Bangladesh", Global Knowledge, Memory and Communication, Vol. 72 No. 1/2, pp. 82-97. https://doi.org/10.1108/GKMC-05-2021-0080

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2021, Emerald Publishing Limited

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