Determining levels of knowledge, worry, anxiety and intention to get vaccinated during the recent monkeypox outbreak: a cross-sectional study from the United Arab Emirates (UAE)
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University of Sharjah, Department of Family and Community Medicine; Sharjah Institute of Medical Research; University of New South Wales-School of Population Health, United Arab Emirates
University of Sharjah
King Saud University, Saudi Arabia
Dubai Health Authority, United Arab Emirates
Publication date: 2023-04-26
Popul. Med. 2023;5(Supplement):A264
Monkeypox cases increased in non-endemic countries in May 2022, raising global concerns. Past outbreaks of infectious diseases, including COVID-19, have been associated with several psychosocial effects due to a lack of knowledge and the rapid spread of misinformation and fear. In this study, we examined knowledge, worry, and anxiety levels among the general population about monkeypox, as well as their willingness to receive a vaccine.

An online cross-sectional survey of adults in the UAE was conducted in June 2022. Information on monkeypox-related beliefs, perceived risks, knowledge, worry, anxiety, previous COVID-19 infection and vaccination status, and willingness to receive a vaccine for monkeypox was collected. Bivariate and logistic regression analysis determined associations and predictors between dependent and outcome variables.

A total of 959 participants were included in the analysis. A median knowledge score of (12/19) indicated suboptimal knowledge. Only a quarter of participants believed they were at high risk of monkeypox infection; however, 46% believed that infection would have a significant impact on their health, and 57% believed that fear of monkeypox in the community was justified. Knowledge scores were higher among women, healthcare workers, and those whose sources of information were considered reliable. Perceived high risk of infection, changes in precautionary measures, and belief that treatment would be difficult predicted higher levels of worry and anxiety among participants. Participants with higher levels of worry and who had received two or more doses of the COVID-19 vaccine were more likely to take a vaccine once it became available.

These findings demonstrate low levels of knowledge and high levels of worry and anxiety among the UAE population and highlight the need for raising public awareness regarding monkeypox and future outbreaks. Additionally, these findings will inform policymakers and health regulators on the promotion of vaccination campaigns.

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