1 Amala Institute of Medical Sciences, Thrissur, Kerala, India

2 Clinical Sciences Division, Northern Ontario School of Medicine, Sudbury, Ontario, Canada, Department of Internal Medicine, Health Sciences North Research Institute, Sudbury, Ontario, Canada


BACKGROUND: Vaccine hesitancy leads to an increase in morbidity, mortality, and health‑care 
burden. Reasons for vaccine hesitancy include anti‑vax group statements, misinformation about 
vaccine side effects, speed of vaccine development, and general disbelief in the existence of viruses 
like COVID‑19. Medical students are future physicians and are key influencers in the uptake of 
vaccines. Hence, investigating vaccine hesitancy in this population can help to overcome any barrier 
in vaccine acceptance.
METHODS: In this paper, we review five articles on COVID‑19 vaccine hesitancy in medical students 
and consider potential future research. All published papers relevant to the topic were obtained 
through extensive search using major databases. Inclusion criteria included studies that specifically 
investigated COVID‑19 vaccine hesitancy in medical students published between 2020 and 2021. 
Exclusion criteria included studies that investigated vaccine hesitancy in health‑care professionals, 
allied health, and viruses apart from COVID‑19. A total of 10 studies were found from our search.
RESULTS: Based on our exclusion criteria, only five studies were included in our review. The sample 
size ranged from 168 to 2133 medical students. The percentage of vaccine hesitancy in medical 
students ranged from 10.6 to 65.1%. Reasons for vaccine hesitancy included concern about serious 
side effects, vaccine efficacy, misinformation and insufficient information, disbelief in public health 
experts, financial costs, and belief that they had acquired immunity.
CONCLUSION: These results suggest that vaccine hesitancy is an important cause of the incidence 
and prevalence of COVID‑19 cases. Identifying the barriers of vaccine hesitancy in prospective 
physicians can help increase vaccination uptake in the general public. Further research is necessary 
to identify the root cause of these barriers.


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