Observational Study
Copyright ©The Author(s) 2023. Published by Baishideng Publishing Group Inc. All rights reserved.
World J Clin Cases. Feb 6, 2023; 11(4): 821-829
Published online Feb 6, 2023. doi: 10.12998/wjcc.v11.i4.821
Effect of patient COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy on hospital care team perceptions
Inbar Caspi, Ophir Freund, Omer Pines, Odelia Elkana, Jacob N Ablin, Gil Bornstein
Inbar Caspi, Ophir Freund, Gil Bornstein, Internal Medicine Department B, Tel-Aviv Sourasky Medical Center and Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv 6423906, Israel
Omer Pines, Odelia Elkana, Behavioral Sciences Department, Academic College of Tel Aviv-Yaffo, Tel Aviv 6818211, Israel
Jacob N Ablin, Internal Medicine Department H, Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center and Sackler School of Medicine, Tel Aviv 6423906, Israel
Author contributions: Ablin JN and Bornstein G designed and supervised the study; Freund O, Pines O, Elkana O and Caspi I performed data acquisition, analysis and interpretation; Caspi I and Freund O drafted the manuscript; All authors reviewed and confirmed the final version of the manuscript and critically revised it.
Institutional review board statement: The study was approved by the ethics committee of The Academic College of Tel Aviv-Yaffo (Authorization No. 2021142).
Informed consent statement: All participants accepted an informed consent form, agreed to participate by pressing to continue with the questionnaire electronically and had the ability to drop out at any stage.
Conflict-of-interest statement: The authors declare having no conflicts of interest, real or perceivable, to report.
Data sharing statement: No additional data are available.
STROBE statement: The authors have read the STROBE Statement-checklist of items, and the manuscript was prepared and revised according to the STROBE Statement-checklist of items.
Open-Access: This article is an open-access article that was selected by an in-house editor and fully peer-reviewed by external reviewers. It is distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See: https://creativecommons.org/Licenses/by-nc/4.0/
Corresponding author: Ophir Freund, MD, Doctor, Internal Medicine Department B, Tel-Aviv Sourasky Medical Center and Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel Aviv University, Weizman 6, Tel Aviv 6423906, Israel. ophir068@gmail.com
Received: October 27, 2022
Peer-review started: October 27, 2022
First decision: November 30, 2022
Revised: December 12, 2022
Accepted: January 16, 2023
Article in press: January 16, 2023
Published online: February 6, 2023
Research background

Patient characteristics can affect their medical care team practice and intervene in the shared decision-making process. The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic posed new challenges to patient care, especially severe infections with high rates of deterioration and adverse outcomes. COVID-19 vaccines have proven highly efficacious in reducing the disease severity and as a result its burden. We, therefore, hypothesized that patient vaccine hesitancy would influence the hospital care team (HCT) perceptions.

Research motivation

Many studies focused on the attitudes toward COVID-19 vaccines themselves and specifically on vaccine hesitancy for both patients and medical teams. However, it is still unknown whether patient vaccine hesitancy influences HCT perceptions.

Research objectives

To study the effect of patient vaccine hesitancy on HCT perceptions towards these patients’ characteristics and care.

Research methods

We conducted a prospective study at 11 medical centers during the Delta variant surge using standardized questionnaires. Hospital physicians and nursing staff treating COVID-19 patients (n = 66) were recruited and completed a questionnaire, which included three validated tools to assess the effect of patient vaccine hesitancy. We analyzed the questionnaire results in all different items and evaluated their associations with patients’ characteristics.

Research results

Our data demonstrated that HCT experienced their relationship with vaccine-hesitant patients as more difficult, perceived them as responsible for their disease and as having a lower character. The relationship with unvaccinated patients was more difficult among HCTs with higher workplace burnout.

Research conclusions

We concluded that patient vaccine hesitancy had a negative impact on how the HCT perceived patient character, their care and their responsibility for their disease.

Research perspectives

Our results should raise awareness of the potentially harmful biases in medical practice and hopefully lead to the establishment of specific measures in designated COVID-19 departments to combat this issue. Early detection might prevent negative feelings from escalating and mitigate the feared consequence of harming patient care.