COVID-19 Vaccination Attitudes, Perceptions, and Side Effect Experiences in Malaysia: Do Age, Gender, and Vaccine Type Matter?

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

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This study aimed to investigate the attitudes, perceptions, and experiences of side effects with the COVID-19 vaccines in Malaysia among participants in the National Vaccination Program. A cross-sectional survey was conducted among a sample of vaccine-eligible and vaccinated individuals in Malaysia between May and July 2021. A total of 428 respondents completed the survey. A vast majority (98.6%) of the respondents had registered to be vaccinated. Twenty participants (4.7%) expressed concerns about either registering or receiving the COVID-19 vaccination, mainly due to their uncertainty of vaccine safety. Approximately 77.5% received their vaccinations. Of them, 76.8% had experienced vaccine-related side effects. About 40% of the side effects occurred more with the second dose, particularly those who received the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine (p < 0.001). Pain at the injection site (61.1%) and tiredness (48.8%) were the most reported side effects. Compared to those aged ≥60 years, all age groups were more likely to exhibit vaccine-related side effects; meanwhile, males (OR: 0.51, 95% CI: 0.27–0.93) were less likely to experience side effects than females. Those who received the Sinovac vaccine were at lower risk of experiencing side effects (OR: 0.08, 95% CI: 0.03–0.22) and were more likely to report fewer side effects than Pfizer-BioNTech (p = 0.012) and Oxford-AstraZeneca groups (p= 0.001). The overall attitudes toward the COVID-19 vaccination program were positive. Several differences in the experiences of vaccine-related side effects, in terms of prevalence and numbers, were attributed to age, gender, and received vaccine type.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1156
Number of pages15
Issue number10
Early online date9 Oct 2021
Publication statusPublished online - 9 Oct 2021


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


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