COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy in South Africa: lessons for future pandemics
Vaccine hesitancy, long considered a global health threat, poses a major barrier to effective roll-out of COVID-19 vaccination. With less than half (45%) of adult South Africans currently fully vaccinated, we identified factors affecting non-uptake of vaccination and vaccine hesitancy in order to identify key groups to be targeted when embarking upon COVID-19 vaccine promotion campaigns. A cross-sectional, anonymous online survey was undertaken among the South African adult population in September 2021. Our research identified race, interactive–critical vaccine literacy, trust in the government’s ability to roll out the COVID-19 vaccination programme, flu vaccination status and risk perception for COVID-19 infection as key factors influencing the uptake of COVID-19 vaccination. Respondents who did not trust in the government’s ability to roll out vaccination were almost 13 times more likely to be vaccine-hesitant compared to those respondents who did trust the government. Reliable, easy-to-understand information regarding the safety of COVID-19 vaccines is needed, but it is also important that vaccination promotion and communication strategies include broader trust-building measures to enhance South Africans’ trust in the government’s ability to roll out vaccination effectively and safely. This may also be the case in other countries where distrust in governments’ ability prevails.
COVID-19, Vaccine hesitancy, Vaccine literacy, Health literacy, Health behaviour, Risk factors
Engelbrecht, M., Heunis, C., & Kigozi, G. (2022). COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy in South Africa: lessons for future pandemics. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 19, 6694. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19116694