Affiliations (institution, department): Department of Dental Public Health, Faculty of Dental Medicine, Medical University-Sofia, Bulgaria
Introduction: Dentists are potential candidates for burnout due to the specifities in clinical practice and additional external factors initiated by the current pandemic. The aim of this study was to investigate dentists’ intentions and attitudes toward COVID-19 vaccination and to examine how the latter were associated with the levels of their occupational burnout.
Materials and methods: An anonymous validated 43-question survey, including demographic and pandemic questions and the Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI), was administered to a random sample of 1405 dentists from 73 settlements in Bulgaria. The data was analyzed with IBM SPSS Statistics 25.0 using standard descriptive statistics, one way ANOVA, Kolmogrov-Smirnov, and Shapiro-Wilk tests, Kruskal–Wallis H test and Mann–Whitney U test.
Results: Overall, 387 dentists responded to the survey (response rate 27.5%). All three dimensions of burnout corresponded to moderate level of burnout (EE - 21.29±12.49, DP - 10.17±6.20 and PA - 34.76±7.87). A large proportion of respondents (n=151; 39.0%) reported they did not intend to get vaccinated and almost ¼ of dentists (n = 95; 24.5%) believed that COVID-19 vaccines would have many side effects. COVID-19 vaccine unwillingness was significantly linked to the elevated levels of emotional exhaustion and depersonalization (p<0.05). There was also a significant relationship between vaccine side effects beliefs and burnout dimensions(p<0.05).
Conclusion: Dentists’ occupational burnout and intentions for vaccination were significantly associated. Developing programs to reduce vaccination hesitancy, increase trust and build favorable attitudes is vital for controlling the COVID-19 pandemic and can play a role in protection of psychological well-being of dentists.
Burnout, dentists, COVID-19 vaccines, coronavirus, vaccination.