Attitudes, Perceptions, and Experiences of Side Effects of COVID-19 Vaccines in Malaysia: Do Age, Gender and Vaccine Type Matter?

Mohamed Hassan Elnaem, Nor Hidayah Mohd Taufik, Norny Syafinaz Ab Rahman, Nor Ilyani Mohd Nazar, Che Suraya Zin, Wesley Nuffer, Christopher John Turner

Research output: Other contribution


Background: Vaccination programs are crucial in global efforts to control the COVID-19 pandemic. Little has been reported regarding the attitudes and experiences of participants in the ongoing Malaysian vaccination program. Therefore, this study aimed to investigate the attitudes, perceptions, and experiences of side effects with the COVID-19 vaccines in Malaysia.

Methods: This study was a cross-sectional survey conducted among vaccine-eligible and vaccinated individuals in Malaysia between May and July 2021. A self-administered 27-item questionnaire was developed and validated before distributing it through an online medium. Descriptive and inferential statistics were performed using SPSS version 22.

Results: A total of 428 respondents completed the survey. More than half of the respondents (71.1%) were 18 to 45 years old, and 66.4% were females. A vast majority (98.6%) of the respondents had registered for the National COVID-19 Vaccination Program. A total of 20 participants (4.7%) expressed their concerns about either registering or receiving the COVID-19 vaccination, and the most reported concern was the uncertainty of vaccine safety. Among the study population, 332 participants (77.5%) received their vaccinations. About 50% received the Pfizer-BioNTech (Cominarty®) vaccine. A majority (76.8%) of the respondents experienced side effects following vaccination. Approximately 40% of the reported side effects occurred more with the second dose, particularly in those who received the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine (p < .0005). Pain at the injection site (61.1%) and tiredness (48.8%) were the most commonly reported side effects. Those who received Sinovac (CoronaVac®) vaccine were more likely to report fewer side effects than Pfizer-BioNTech (p = .012) and Oxford-AstraZeneca (ChAdOx1-S) groups (p = .001). The logistic regression showed that all age groups, except those aged ≥ 60 years, were more likely to exhibit vaccine-related side effects. Male participants (OR: 0.51, CI:0.27-0.93) and those who received the Sinovac (CoronaVac®) vaccine (OR: 0.08, CI:0.03-0.22) were at lower risk of experiencing vaccine-related side effects.

Conclusions: the overall attitudes toward the national vaccination program were positive, with a vast majority registered to be vaccinated. Several differences in the experiences of vaccine-related side effects in terms of prevalence and number were attributed to age, gender, and received vaccine type.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages21
Publication statusPublished online - 21 Sept 2021


  • COVID-19
  • vaccine
  • Malaysia
  • attitudes
  • perceptions
  • experience


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