Research Finds Reasons Behind Covid-19 Vaccine Hesitancy

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While nearly 36 million vaccines have been administered in South Africa, vaccine hesitancy in the country remains stable with the percentage of people who are hesitant to take a Covid-19 vaccine declining slightly in the second half of 2021.

 


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The University of Johannesburg (UJ) in collaboration with the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) released the Covid-19 Democracy Survey which found that vaccine hesitancy declined slightly from 28% in July 2021 to 25% in November 2021. The survey was fully completed by 6,633 participants.

Yamkela Majikijela, PhD research trainee at the HSRC presented the findings which showed that while vaccine hesitancy remained stable, hesitancy for people aged 18-24 years declined by 16 percentage points and by 9 percentage points among 25-34-year-olds. Vaccine hesitancy remained stable among older age groups.

In terms of gender, females were more hesitant to get the Covid-19 vaccine compared to males.

“Vaccine hesitancy among White adults, who in previous rounds of the survey were the most vaccine-hesitant group, has declined by 18 percentage points although the levels of hesitancy within this group remain higher than among Black African or Indian and Asian adults”, read the report.

What Made People Hesitant To Take The Vaccine

Participants in the study revealed that concerns with the general effectiveness and safety of the vaccine, along with being concerned with the side effects were self-reported explanations for vaccine hesitancy.

Participants also reported religious objections, doubt of the existence of Covid-19 and the belief that the individual themselves is not at risk of Covid-19.

People also reported a preference for alternative treatments for Covid-19, including other drugs and/or traditional medicines. Social media stories or hearing rumours also contributed to their vaccine hesitancy.

Deputy Minister in the Presidency, Pinky Kekana who was in attendance said that vaccine hesitancy prevents the country from living beyond the pandemic and focusing on the economic recovery plans. 

Kekana added that the government will address some issues that were pointed out in the study.

She said, “In our goal and commitment to leave no one behind and ensure that we build back better, it is incumbent upon us to drive a vaccine confidence strategy.”

 

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