Purpose: Self-testing kits for SARS-CoV-2 appear effective, practical, safe and reliable as well as helping patients with mild-to-moderate symptoms to be successfully managed at home without going to hospital. As a result, ease pressures on hospitals. OTC vending machines offer the potential for SARS-CoV-2 self-testing kits alongside making available OTC treatments to alleviate the symptoms of COVID-19. As a result, providing confidentiality alongside ease of use in case people do not want their status broad casted. Consequently, there was a need to assess the acceptability and willingness regarding the availability of OTC vending machines to dispense self-testing kits for SARS-CoV-2 among UAE residents to provide future direction. Patients and Methods: A cross-sectional survey using a designed questionnaire was based on previous research and expert input and pilot tested. All items in the final questionnaire were seen as acceptable with a satisfactory content validity. A purposive sampling strategy was used in the principal study by primarily sending a link to the questionnaire to UAE universities via Facebook and WhatsApp. Results: A total of 876 respondents participated in the study and completed the whole questionnaire. Most participants were female (63%), Arabic origin (42%) and holding a bachelor’s degree (84.5%). There was high acceptability and willingness to use self-testing kits (87.2%), with 88.6% of respondents believing OTC vending machines would be beneficial for patients with actual or suspected SARS-CoV-2. Gender, nationality, educational level, employment status, having relatives infected with SARS-CoV-2 and being vaccinated were significantly associated with attitudes towards the self-testing kits. Recognised barriers include their potential costs, ease of access and help for those who cannot read the instructions. Conclusion: Overall, there was high acceptability and willingness to use OTC vending machines to deliver self-testing kits for SARS-CoV-2 among the surveyed participants. Key barriers will need to be addressed to enhance their use.
- public acceptability and willingness
- self-testing kits