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Objectives: COVID-19 pandemic brought mortalities, morbidities, fear, and financial despair among people around the world. As it advanced, misinformation and myths about it caught wildfire, contributing to misbelief among the already shocked population. Medical students are the building blocks of the medical community and can provide a pivotal role in combating COVID-19 misinformation by delivering correct knowledge and awareness to the non-medical population of the country. Hence, it is important to assess their knowledge and perception of COVID-19 myths. Therefore, this study evaluates medical student's knowledge regarding myths and misinformation related to COVID-19 infection and its vaccine. The study also assesses the belief of medical students on various conspiracy theories of COVID-19.
Methods: An online cross-sectional survey was conducted among 401 undergraduate medical students of Karachi in June-August 2021. A validated, structured, and self-administrated questionnaire was used for data collection. The data were entered on an open EPI version 3.01 and Statistical Package of Social Science version 26 for analysis. A chi-square test was performed to identify determinant factors. All p-values less than 0.05 were considered significant.
Results: Overall knowledge score of participants about myths and misinformation related to COVID-19 and its vaccine was as follows: 166 (28.9) participants possess good knowledge, while 167 (41.6) and 118 (29.4) had moderate to poor knowledge, respectively. Senior students, vaccinated, and participants infected by COVID-19 had good to moderate knowledge. Overall, 139 (34.7) participants strongly disagree and 103 (25.7) participants somewhat disagree with conspiracy theories related to COVID-19. Absence of belief in the conspiracies is associated with vaccinated participants.
Conclusion: The study shows that most medical students possess adequate knowledge of misinformation about COVID-19 and its vaccines, and have low belief in conspiracy theories of COVID-19.


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SAGE open medicine