Prof. Valeri Stoyanov, DSc.
Nikola Vaptsarov Naval Academy
Резюме. An integrated approach, using quantitative and qualitative research methodology, with a sample of 150 students, reveals the attitude of students to the nature and origin of the virus causing COVID-19, as well as vaccines, scientific evidence and prospects for their use. The results show, despite the expectations that
students would have more trust in scientific information about vaccines and a higher
percentage of vaccinated, that they do not differ from the general population in our
country. More than half believe in conspiracy theories about the artificial origin and spread of the virus that causes COVID-19, and do not trust the scientific evidence on the safety of vaccines. The vaccinated one third of the sample have statistically significantly more confidence in scientific evidence than u nvaccinated. Vaccinated students live in households where the majority are vaccinated, while unvaccinated students live in households where the majority are not vaccinated. The motives for vaccination for those who have done so and those around one tenth who intend to be vaccinated are less related to medical logic. For most of the vaccinated, the motives are related to the way of life - frequent travel abroad, being able to work to survive, not having to pay for different tests every day. The role of higher education
institutions in improving students' awareness of the medical logic of pandemic control and making young people leaders in this process is discussed.
Keywords: attitudes; motives; mental state; conspiracy theories; vaccines; COVID-19