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BMC Public Health ; 22(1): 446, 2022 03 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1731526


BACKGROUND: Open online forums like Reddit provide an opportunity to quantitatively examine COVID-19 vaccine perceptions early in the vaccine timeline. We examine COVID-19 misinformation on Reddit following vaccine scientific announcements, in the initial phases of the vaccine timeline. METHODS: We collected all posts on Reddit ( from January 1 2020 - December 14 2020 (n=266,840) that contained both COVID-19 and vaccine-related keywords. We used topic modeling to understand changes in word prevalence within topics after the release of vaccine trial data. Social network analysis was also conducted to determine the relationship between Reddit communities (subreddits) that shared COVID-19 vaccine posts, and the movement of posts between subreddits. RESULTS: There was an association between a Pfizer press release reporting 90% efficacy and increased discussion on vaccine misinformation. We observed an association between Johnson and Johnson temporarily halting its vaccine trials and reduced misinformation. We found that information skeptical of vaccination was first posted in a subreddit (r/Coronavirus) which favored accurate information and then reposted in subreddits associated with antivaccine beliefs and conspiracy theories (e.g. conspiracy, NoNewNormal). CONCLUSIONS: Our findings can inform the development of interventions where individuals determine the accuracy of vaccine information, and communications campaigns to improve COVID-19 vaccine perceptions, early in the vaccine timeline. Such efforts can increase individual- and population-level awareness of accurate and scientifically sound information regarding vaccines and thereby improve attitudes about vaccines, especially in the early phases of vaccine roll-out. Further research is needed to understand how social media can contribute to COVID-19 vaccination services.

COVID-19 , Social Media , Vaccines , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19 Vaccines , Humans , SARS-CoV-2
PLoS One ; 16(11): e0259981, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1528721


BACKGROUND: Somalia is considered severely underprepared to contain an outbreak of COVID-19, with critical shortages in healthcare personnel and treatment resources. In limited-resource settings such as Somalia, providing healthcare workers with adequate information on COVID-19 is crucial to improve patient outcomes and mitigate the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. This study assessed the knowledge of, preparedness for, and perceptions toward COVID-19 prevention and treatment among Somali healthcare workers. METHODS: A descriptive, cross-sectional survey was completed by 364 Somali healthcare workers in summer of 2020 utilizing a convenience sampling method. RESULTS: Participants' most accessed sources of COVID-19 information were from social media (64.8%), official government and international health organization websites (51.1%,), and traditional media sources such as radio, TV, and newspapers (48.1%). A majority of participants demonstrated strong knowledge of treatment of COVID-19, the severity of COVID-19, and the possible outcomes of COVID-19, but only 5 out of 10 symptoms listed were correctly identified by more than 75% of participants. Although participants indicated seeing a median number of 10 patients per week with COVID-19 related symptoms, access to essential medical resources, such as N95 masks (30.2%), facial protective shields (24.5%), and disposable gowns (21.4%), were limited. Moreover, 31.3% agreed that Somalia was in a good position to contain an emerging outbreak of COVID-19. In addition, 40.4% of participants agreed that the Somali government's response to the pandemic was sufficient to protect Somali healthcare professionals. CONCLUSION: This study provides evidence for the need to equip Somali healthcare providers with more information, personal protective equipment, and treatment resources such that they can safely and adequately care for COVID-19 patients and contain the spread of the virus. Social media and traditional news outlets may be effective outlets to communicate information regarding COVID-19 and the Somali government's response to frontline healthcare workers.

COVID-19/prevention & control , Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice , Health Personnel/psychology , Personal Protective Equipment/statistics & numerical data , Practice Guidelines as Topic/standards , Protective Clothing/statistics & numerical data , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/transmission , COVID-19/virology , Cross-Sectional Studies , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Somalia/epidemiology , Young Adult
BMJ Open ; 11(6): e044411, 2021 06 29.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1288389


OBJECTIVES: This study examined knowledge and perceptions of COVID-19, prevalence of pre-existing conditions and access to essential resources among residents of internally displaced person (IDP) camps in Somalia, where overcrowded settlements with weakened infrastructure, inadequate water, sanitation, and hygiene facilities, and limited access to health services make this vulnerable population particularly susceptible to a COVID-19 outbreak. DESIGN: A descriptive, cross-sectional survey. SETTING: Twelve IDP camps across six areas of the Lower Shabelle region in Somalia. PARTICIPANTS: 401 adult Somali IDP camp residents. RESULTS: The majority of participants were female (86%) and had received no formal education (89%). While 58% reported being in 'good' health, half of the participants reported having one or more pre-existing conditions. Though 77% of respondents reported taking at least one COVID-19 preventative public health measure, respondents reported a lack of access to adequate sanitation, an inability to practice social distancing and nearly universal inability to receive a COVID-19 screening exam. Questions assessing knowledge surrounding COVID-19 prevention and treatment yielded answers of 'I don't know' for roughly 50% of responses. The majority of participants were not familiar with basic information about the virus or confident that they could receive medical services if infected. 185 (47%) respondents indicated that camp living conditions needed to change to prevent the spread of COVID-19. CONCLUSION: This study highlights low levels of COVID-19 knowledge and limited access to essential prevention and treatment resources among individuals living in Somali IDP camps. A massive influx of additional resources is required to adequately address COVID-19 in Somalia, starting with codesigning interventions to educate those individuals most vulnerable to infection.

COVID-19 , Refugees , Adult , Cross-Sectional Studies , Female , Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice , Humans , Male , Perception , Preexisting Condition Coverage , Prevalence , SARS-CoV-2 , Somalia