It is critical to develop tailored strategies to increase acceptability of the COVID-19 vaccine and decrease hesitancy. Hence, this study aims to assess and identify factors associated with COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy in Portugal. We used data from a community-based survey, “COVID-19 Barometer: Social Opinion”, which includes data regarding intention to take COVID-19 vaccines, health status, and risk perception in Portugal from September 2020 to January 2021. We used multinomial regression to identify factors associated with intention to delay or refuse to take COVID-19 vaccines. COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy in Portugal was high: 56% would wait and 9% refuse. Several factors were associated with both refusal and delay: being younger, loss of income during the pandemic, no intention of taking the flu vaccine, low confidence in the COVID-19 vaccine and the health service response during the pandemic, worse perception of government measures, perception of the information provided as inconsistent and contradictory, and answering the questionnaire before the release of information regarding the safety and efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines. It is crucial to build confidence in the COVID-19 vaccine as its perceived safety and efficacy were strongly associated with intention to take the vaccine. Governments and health authorities should improve communication and increase trust.
Background COVID-19, a viral respiratory disease first reported in December 2019, quickly became a threat to global public health. Further understanding of the epidemiology of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and the risk perception of the community may better inform targeted interventions to reduce the impact and spread of COVID-19. Objective In this study, we aimed to examine the association between chronic diseases and serious outcomes following COVID-19 infection, and to explore its influence on people’s self-perception of risk for worse COVID-19 outcomes. Methods This study draws data from two databases: (1) the nationwide database of all confirmed COVID-19 cases in Portugal, extracted on April 28, 2020 (n=20,293); and (2) the community-based COVID-19 Barometer survey, which contains data on health status, perceptions, and behaviors during the first wave of COVID-19 (n=171,087). We assessed the association between relevant chronic diseases (ie, respiratory, cardiovascular, and renal diseases; diabetes; and cancer) and death and intensive care unit (ICU) admission following COVID-19 infection. We identified determinants of self-perception of risk for severe COVID-19 outcomes using logistic regression models. Results Respiratory, cardiovascular, and renal diseases were associated with mortality and ICU admission among patients hospitalized due to COVID-19 infection (odds ratio [OR] 1.48, 95% CI 1.11-1.98; OR 3.39, 95% CI 1.80-6.40; and OR 2.25, 95% CI 1.66-3.06, respectively). Diabetes and cancer were associated with serious outcomes only when considering the full sample of COVID-19–infected cases in the country (OR 1.30, 95% CI 1.03-1.64; and OR 1.40, 95% CI 1.03-1.89, respectively). Older age and male sex were both associated with mortality and ICU admission. The perception of risk for severe COVID-19 disease in the study population was 23.9% (n=40,890). This was markedly higher for older adults (n=5235, 46.4%), those with at least one chronic disease (n=17,647, 51.6%), or those in both of these categories (n=3212, 67.7%). All included diseases were associated with self-perceptions of high risk in this population. Conclusions Our results demonstrate the association between some prevalent chronic diseases and increased risk of worse COVID-19 outcomes. It also brings forth a greater understanding of the community’s risk perceptions of serious COVID-19 disease. Hence, this study may aid health authorities to better adapt measures to the real needs of the population and to identify vulnerable individuals requiring further education and awareness of preventive measures.
BackgroundHealth workers’ attitudes toward immigrant patients influence behaviour, medical decisions, quality of care and health outcomes. Despite the increasing number of immigrant patients in health services and the potential influence of health workers’ attitudes, there is little research in this area. This study aimed to examine attitudes of different health workers’ groups toward immigrant patients and to identify the associated factors.MethodsThis cross-sectional study was conducted with a random sample of 400 health workers from primary health care services in the Lisbon region, Portugal. Among those, 320 completed a structured questionnaire. Descriptive analysis and multiple linear regression analysis were used for the evaluation of data.ResultsMost participants did not agree that immigrant patients tend to behave like victims, but about half considered that some are aggressive and dangerous. Doctors and nurses showed more positive attitudes than office workers. Among doctors, the older ones reported less positive attitudes compared to the younger ones. Health workers who have less daily contact with immigrants revealed more positive attitudes. Most participants evaluated their knowledge and competencies to work with immigrants as moderate or low.ConclusionsAlthough health workers reveal positive attitudes, this study reinforces the need to develop strategies that prevent negative attitudes and stereotyping in health services. Efforts should be made to improve workers’ competencies to deal with culturally diverse populations, in order to promote quality of health care and obtain positive health outcomes among immigrant populations.
Equity of access to health services is a major concern as it is an important precondition for positive health outcomes. However, inequities in use of health services among immigrant populations persist. Despite the increasing research in the field, patterns of healthcare seeking among immigrant populations and its associated factors are not fully understood. This study aimed to investigate healthcare-seeking patterns among immigrants in Portugal and identify factors associated with utilisation of health services. A cross-sectional study was conducted between October 2008 and May 2009 with a sample of 1,375 immigrants residing in the Lisbon region. Data were collected through a structured questionnaire applied by trained interviewers. Two stepwise logistic regressions were conducted to identify which factors were associated with utilisation of the National Health Service (NHS) and with healthcare seeking for the first time in Portugal at the Primary Health Care service, estimated by calculating odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals. Among participants, around 77% reported having used the NHS; 50% sought health-care for the first time at the Primary Health Care service and 33% at the emergency room. Lower odds of having used the NHS were associated with being male, Brazilian or eastern European compared with being African, and undocumented. Lower odds of having sought health-care for the first time at the Primary Health Care service were associated with being male and undocumented. These results suggest that further efforts are needed to tackle inequalities in access to care and promote the utilisation of health services, particularly among the more vulnerable immigrant groups. Increasing appropriate utilisation of health services, including the primary and preventive care services, may lead to better health outcomes. Immigrants' involvement and participation should be incorporated into the development of health strategies to improve access and utilisation of healthcare services.
The HIV infection burden in SW is high. Efforts to promote HIV testing must be sustained in order to reduce undiagnosed infection. The diverse risk profiles of SW must be addressed in targeted HIV interventions. Prevention interventions should be systematically implemented within most-at-risk subgroups of SW.
A participatory HIV research project was conducted with sex workers (SW) and men who have sex with men (MSM) to understand epidemiological HIV dynamics and associated sociobehavioural factors among these vulnerable groups. We examine the impact of this project, critically analysing the processes undertaken and focusing on the advantages and the challenges faced. A partnership was built through two Community Advisory Boards (CABs) and a Scientific Commission (SC). Regular meetings, workshops, and focus groups were conducted with CABs, SC, and partners to assess the processes and outcomes of the project implementation. This participatory research produced change processes with impacts at different levels: individuals, community organizations, health professionals, academics, and policy-makers. Advantages of the participatory process were encountered but also challenges, evidencing the dynamic and complex nature of each project's stage. This project showed that participatory research can work as an intervention. Indeed, it triggered a dynamic and interactive process of knowledge coproduction and translation into effective community-oriented health actions and policies. The participatory research reproduced an innovative alliance for HIV prevention and sexual health promotion responsive to local needs and priorities. Further efforts are needed to systematize and evaluate the processes and impacts of participatory health research.
This study aimed to examine risky sexual behavior, its associated factors and HIV infection among immigrants. A participatory cross-sectional survey was conducted with 1187 immigrants at the National Immigrant Support Centre, in Lisbon (52.2% female; 34.0% Africans, 33.8% Brazilians, 32.2% Eastern Europeans). About 38% of participants reported ≥2 sexual partners in the previous year, 16.2% both regular and occasional sexual partners (last 12 months), 33.1% inconsistent condom use with occasional partners, and 64% no condom use in the last sexual intercourse. Unprotected sex in the last sexual intercourse was more likely among women, Africans, those older, with elementary education, those married and those who didn’t receive free condoms in the previous year. No condom use was less likely among those having only occasional sexual partners and both regular and occasional sexual partners. One third of participants had never been tested for HIV. Those never tested reported more frequently inconsistent condom use than those ever tested. Overall, 2.0% reported being HIV positive (2.5% of men; 4.4% of Africans); 4.3% admitted having a STI in previous year. HIV-positive immigrants reported high-risk sexual behaviors. Tailored interventions to promote awareness of HIV serostatus among immigrants as well as culturally adapted risk reduction strategies should be strengthened.
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