Uptake of COVISHIELD vaccine and post-vaccination symptoms among healthcare workers at an academic primary care facility in Ghana.
Background: The emergence of the novel severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has affected health systems globally. Although a safe, effective, and widely accessible vaccine is crucial to ending the pandemic, the results of studies on the acceptability of vaccines among healthcare workers (HCWs) globally have been conflicting. Documented post-vaccination experiences are also limited. This study describes the uptake of the first dose of the COVISHIELD vaccine and analyses the pattern of post-vaccination
symptoms among HCWs in Ghana.
Objective: This study sought to assess the uptake of the first dose of the COVISHIELD vaccine and analyse the pattern of post-vaccination symptoms among HCWs.
Methods: A cross-sectional survey was conducted at the Korle Bu Polyclinic/ Family Medicine Department (KPFMD) of the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital, Accra, in March 2021. Survey participants (n = 188) were staff of the department who completed a structured questionnaire within one week of receiving their first dose of the vaccine. The vaccine uptake rate was estimated from those who received the vaccine (n = 255) as a percentage of the total staff number at the department (n = 314).
Results: The uptake rate of the first dose of the COVISHIELD vaccine among HCWs was 81.2% (n = 255/314). The most frequently occurring post-vaccination symptoms were general malaise, headache, injection site pain and swelling, tiredness, muscle aches and fever.
These symptoms were largely mild to moderate in severity and occurred mostly within 24 hours after vaccination. Of the 84.6% (n = 159) respondents who reported at least one post-vaccination symptom, 77.4% (n = 123) took analgesics to manage their symptoms. There was no significant association between age, sex, chronic health condition, a previous positive test for COVID-19 and experiencing post-vaccination symptoms.
Conclusion: A high proportion of HCWs received the COVISHIELD vaccine in this study. The study's findings are comparable with prior studies that indicated that the vaccine is generally safe and well-tolerated. Various stakeholders in Ghana should continue to educate, reassure and encourage the population to accept the vaccine as a key intervention towards containing the pandemic.