Healthcare workers' experience with COVID-19 and vaccination: a single center report
Ait Ouahman Imane, El Mohadab Ghizlane, Laparde Fatima Ezzahra, El Fadli Mohammed, Essadi Ismail, Belbaraka Rhizlane
Received: 27 Jun 2022 - Accepted: 16 Jul 2023 - Published: 17 Jul 2023
Domain: Community health,Psychology,Vaccinology
Keywords: Healthcare workers, COVID-19, anxiety, vaccination, side effects
©Ait Ouahman Imane et al. PAMJ - Clinical Medicine (ISSN: 2707-2797). This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution International 4.0 License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Cite this article: Ait Ouahman Imane et al. Healthcare workers' experience with COVID-19 and vaccination: a single center report. PAMJ - Clinical Medicine. 2023;12:32. [doi: 10.11604/pamj-cm.2023.12.32.36092]
Available online at: https://www.clinical-medicine.panafrican-med-journal.com/content/article/12/32/full
Letter to the editors
Healthcare workers' experience with COVID-19 and vaccination: a single center report
Healthcare workers´ experience with COVID-19 and vaccination: a single center report
Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is a new coronavirus that emerged in late 2019 in Wuhan, China, which usually presents as a severe acute respiratory illness named coronavirus disease-20119 (COVID-19). Then this virus spread beyond China, which led the World Health Organization (WHO) on March 11, 2020, to declare that COVID-19 was a global pandemic . It is generally accepted that long-term control of COVID-19 will depend mostly on an effective global vaccination strategy; For this reason, it is recommended that a vaccine coverage between 55% and 82% of any population should be realised . Healthcare workers are an important risk group for whom effective vaccination coverage is primordial because of the risk of work-related infection . Recent literature also adds that non-frontline healthcare workers are also at significant risk of anxiety-related sequelae secondary to so-called "vicarious trauma"[4,5].
A survey was conducted among the hospital staff of the Oncology-Haematology Department of our University Hospital from September 2021 to November 2021. A total of 86 responders; 64 (74%) were female and 22 (26%) were male. The average age of the participants was 30 years, with extremes ranging from 20 to 56 years. The majority of participants were physicians 25 (29%) and nurses 23 (26.7%), followed by secretaries 11 (13%), administrative staff 9 (10.4%), hospital service agents 9 (10.4%) (stretcher bearers, security guards, housekeepers); a pharmacist (1.2%) and 8 medical students (9.3%). Half of the participants attested that they had sufficient equipment to work safely. During the first weeks of this health crisis, 31% of respondents lacked FFP2 masks, 25% lacked surgical masks and 18% lacked hydro-alcoholic gel. 43% of respondents were moderately satisfied with the measures taken to limit the spread of the epidemic within their own department. Most of them did not receive specialized training for COVID-19 crisis management. The media was the main source of information about the pandemic (67%), followed by government sites (25%) and the home institution (23%). Regarding health and personal well-being: 30% of the respondents felt fatigue; 26% felt lassitude; 23% suffered from anxiety and stress; sleep disorders were present in 17% of all participants; mood disorders were present in 13% of cases; while 9% of the respondents had no impact on their physical and mental health. Responders were more worried about transmitting the virus to their relatives than the health crisis itself. In general, this fear and frustration caused enough psychological damage in our participants, leading them in 25% of cases to take antidepressants and/or anxiolytics. Approximately half of the participants had developed COVID-19 disease; 23 of these cases occurred before vaccination; 18 cases after vaccination; and only 3 cases before and after vaccination.
Vaccination of healthcare workers against COVID-19 extended from March 2021 to November 2021. At the beginning there was a hesitation concerning the vaccination given the lack of data on the various side effects, 80% of the participants were vaccinated at the time of the questionnaire. Among the most common adverse events were: pain and reaction at the injection site in 30 responders (43%); followed by fatigue in 28 (40%), fever in 18 (26%), headache in 15 (21%), flu-like illness in 15 responders (21%); chills in 10 cases and only 3 reported cases of allergy. It should be noted that almost 40% of the respondents did not report any adverse effects. Women reported a higher incidence of adverse events than men: fever in 33% of women versus 5% of men (p = 0.028); flu-like illness and headache in 27% of women versus 5% of men (p =0.048). No adverse signs were observed in 63% of men versus 29% of women (p = 0.014) (Table 1).
Among the most frequently observed side effects in the various results reported in the literature were pain and reaction at the injection site and fatigue . Side effects were more common in females compared with males for both doses, reported in the United Arab Emirates study concerning side effects of Sinopharm vaccine . In fact, in terms of morbidity and mortality for influenza and HIV, women tend to have a greater susceptibility . Perhaps this difference between them is due to the endocrine and sexual hormones that contribute to different immune responses according to sex, having a consequence on the susceptibility related to the disease and to the adverse effects of vaccination . In addition, it is generally known that women tend to report adverse events more than men .
Healthcare workers are on the front lines of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic and high risk of infection, for this reason they need to be well protected, properly vaccinated, and eventually well-supported. Minor short-term adverse effects of COVID-19 vaccination have been observed, with a female predisposition. Health education must be enhanced to improve knowledge, attitudes, and practices regarding COVID-19 and vaccination.
The authors declare no competing interests.
Ait Ouahman Imane wrote the first version of the article and Belbaraka Rhizlane approved the final version. All the authors have read and agreed to the final manuscript.
Table 1: adverse effects according to the gender
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