Discrepancies and Similarities in Attitudes, Beliefs, and Familiarity with Vaccination Between Religious Studies and Science Students in Malaysia: A Comparison Study



Elkalmi RM, Jamshed SQ, Suhaimi AM.


J Relig Health. 2021 Aug;60(4):2411-2427. doi: 10.1007/s10943-021-01212-x. Epub 2021 Mar 4.


Little is known about the impact of religion on vaccine receptivity in Malaysia. Improved vaccine uptake is positively reflected in the reduction of vaccine-preventable diseases. This study aimed to explore and compare the attitudes, religious beliefs, and familiarity regarding vaccination between the religious studies and science students. A survey-based cross-sectional study was conducted between a convenient sample of students (N = 300) of religious studies and applied sciences in Kuantan, Malaysia. A new, face- and content-validated questionnaire was used for data collection. A total of 206 students responded to the questionnaire, giving a response rate of 86.6%. Overall, participants demonstrated positive attitudes towards vaccination (n = 185, 89.9%). Only a minority of respondents expressed an opposition to vaccination (n = 21, 10.2%). Religious factors (permissibility) of vaccines (n = 12, 57.1%) and harm associated with the vaccine (n = 13, 61.9%) were the most common reasons for not supporting vaccination among the non-supporters. Most (n = 135, 65.5%) respondents agreed that vaccination is parallel with the Islamic concept of protecting life and preventing harm. Almost half of the respondents (n = 98, 47.6%) admit to declaring “Fatwa” to oblige parents to vaccinate their children. Religious beliefs and safety issues surrounding immunisation were reported as the major barriers for the support of immunisation. Well-designed programs are recommended to reshape the religious beliefs and convictions among students toward vaccination. CI – © 2021. The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature.

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Link/DOI: 10.1007/s10943-021-01212-x