Background: Hesitancy and uncertainty about vaccination among nurses are major barriers to managing the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic worldwide.
Purpose: To explore nurses´ perceptions about receiving the SARS CoV-2 vaccines to inform the upcoming Palestinian Ministry of Health (MOH) vaccination efforts.
Methods: Four focus groups were conducted with nurses between January 18 and 30, 2021, before MOH launched vaccinations in Palestine. Participants working in government and private facilities were invited to participate and completed an online or paper form to provide demographics, review the study purpose, and give consent. Meetings were facilitated in Arabic either online via the Zoom platform or face-to-face using the same interview guide. Transcripts were translated into English and coded using a template analysis approach.
Results: Forty-six nurses working in the hospital or primary care clinics from across Palestine participated. Three major themes emerged: uncertainty, trust, and the knowledge needed to move forward. Uncertainty related to the evolving nature of COVID-19, the rapidity of vaccine development, the types and timing of available vaccines. The need for trusted experts to share scientific information about vaccines to counteract the misinformation in social media. Moreover, reliable vaccine information may help vaccine-hesitant nurses move to vaccine-acceptors and convince others, including their patients.
Conclusion: The negative perception of nurses towards vaccines is problematic in Palestine and uncertainty about which vaccine(s) will be available adds to the lack of education and mass-media misinformation. Other countries with vaccination efforts that are not wholly planned or implemented and may be struggling with similar concerns.