3. Will they accept the vaccine? A 2021 COVID-19 survey among 477 people who use drugs in Norway
To combat the COVID-19 pandemic, adherence to COVID-19 recommendations and vaccination against COVID-19 is important. Among people who use drugs (PWUD), little is known regarding compliance with COVID-19 recommendations, COVID-19 testing and attitudes towards COVID-19 vaccination. In a sample of PWUD, we examined these issues.
In a cross-sectional study, 477 Norwegian PWUD completed an interviewer-administrated questionnaire between January-March 2021.
The mean age was 43.8 years, and 77% were males. Thirty-four percent had injected drugs the past four weeks. Alcohol (41%) and cannabis (41%) were the most common drugs used in the past four weeks, followed by tranquilizers (37%), central stimulants (35%), and opioids (30%). The majority (90%) had washed their hands frequency, used alcohol sanitizer during the past two weeks, had used face masks, kept one-meter distance to other people and stayed at home if feeling unwell. Fifty-four percent had been COVID-19 tested. More than half the sample (58%) had positive attitudes to COVID-19 vaccination, while 26% were fairly or very unlikely to accept vaccination. Those older and using face masks were more likely to have positive attitudes towards vaccination, while those reporting low life-satisfaction, using opioids, or almost never staying at home when feeling unwell expressed more negative attitudes towards vaccination.
There was generally a high compliance towards COVID-19 recommendations, but one quarter of the sample was sceptical towards COVID-19 vaccination. There is a need for targeted and tailored information and well-designed vaccination roll-out programs to reach all PWUD.