Background: Hesitancy to COVID-19 vaccine may worsen the burden of COVID-19 among people living with HIV (PLHIV), who are at a higher risk of COVID-19-related hospitalization and death, compared to HIV non-infected individuals. Therefore, we evaluate the predictors and reasons for COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy among unvaccinated PLHIV in six antiretroviral therapy (ART) clinics across northern Nigeria. Methodology: In this cross-sectional study, conducted between October 2021 and February 2022 in six hospitals across two geopolitical regions of Nigeria, we utilized interviewer-administered questionnaires to assess COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy among a convenience sample of 790 eligible adult PLHIV. Hesitancy was defined as answering ‘no’ or ‘maybe’ to a question asking participants their willingness to accept the COVID-19 vaccine. A multivariate logistic regression model was used to estimate the adjusted odds ratio (aOR) and 95% confidence interval (CI) of the factors associated with COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy among PLHIV. Results: Of the total 660 unvaccinated participants included in the analysis (61.82% female, mean age [SD] of 39.76 [10.75]), 381 (57.72%) were hesitant to COVID-19 vaccine. Being 50 years and older (aOR: 0.43; 95% CI: 0.21-0.89), being unemployed (aOR: 0.57; 95% CI: 0.34-0.95), experiencing the adverse effects of ART (aOR: 0.36; 95% CI: 0.15-0.86), and perception of being at high risk of contracting COVID-19 (aOR: 0.22; 95% CI: 0.13-0.37) were associated with significantly lower odds of hesitancy. Conversely, being female (aOR: 1.64; 95% CI: 1.02-2.61) and attending ART clinics at state administrative capital cities (IIDH Kano [aOR: 2.40; 95% CI: 1.10-5.25], MMSH Kano [aOR: 5.59; 95% CI: 1.97-10.66], YSSH Damaturu [aOR: 9.88; 95% CI: 4.02-24.29] vs. GH Gashua) were associated with significantly higher odds of hesitancy. The most common reasons for hesitancy include fear of potential adverse effects, skepticism about vaccine efficacy, the rapid development of the COVID-19 vaccine, and the perceived lack of effort to develop a cure or vaccine for HIV/AIDS. Conclusion: Interventions aimed at combating misperceptions and misinformation regarding the COVID-19 vaccination program may reduce the prevalence of COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy among unvaccinated PLHIV.
Available online 23 February 2023