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Abstract

Purpose: After the widespread transmission of the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19, the first COVID-19 vaccination received emergency use authorization in the United States in December of 2020. Current research has shown the authorized COVID-19 vaccines to be safe and effective at preventing severe illness. At the time of this study, there appears to be no published research on the attitudes and receipt of COVID-19 vaccinations among occupational therapy professionals and students. The purpose of this study is to describe the attitudes and receipt of COVID-19 vaccinations among occupational therapy professionals and students in early 2021. Methods: A total of 114 occupational therapy professionals and students (age= 41 ± 15, years of certified experience = 13 ± 13) opened the survey link and completed the instrument. Participants were sent an electronic survey via email that collected demographic information and assessed attitudes and receipt of COVID-19 vaccination. Data was downloaded and analyzed using a commercially available statistics package. Results: The majority of occupational therapy professionals in this study agreed on some level that they were comfortable (Strongly Agree = 36.0%, Agree = 16.7%, Somewhat Agree = 10.5%). Most occupational therapy professionals and students stated they had or would receive a COVID-19 vaccination. The majority of participants reported personal, household, and community safety as the primary considerations for receiving a COVID-19 vaccination. In general, these factors were a larger factor for participants than public perception or personal liberties being infringed upon. Conclusions: The findings of this study suggest a majority of occupational therapy professionals and students are comfortable with the current level of approvals for available COVID-19 vaccinations, and at the time of the survey had or intending to be vaccinated. As occupational therapy professionals and students continue to work in day-to-day patient care, it is imperative to consider the best means of educating occupational therapy professionals and students on the potential benefits of COVID-19 vaccinations.

Author Bio(s)

S. Andrew Cage, EdD, LAT, ATC, is the Head Athletic Trainer and a Health & Kinesiology Instructor at the University of Texas at Tyler. He is also licensed and certified athletic trainer.

Brandon J. Warner, M.Ed., LAT, ATC, is the Athletic Training Program Director at Grand Canyon University. He is also a licensed and certified athletic trainer.

Diana M. Gallegos, MS, LAT, ATC, is an Associate Athletic Trainer at the University of Texas at Tyler and UT Health East Texas. She is also a certified and licensed athletic trainer.

Heidi M. Cage, MOT, OTR, is an Occupational Therapist at Encompass Health. She is also a registered occupational therapist.

Diane P. Brown, PhD, OTR, is the former Masters of Occupational Therapy Program Director at the University of Texas at Tyler. She is also a registered occupational therapist.

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