In partnership with the Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) and the Solidarity Fund, Ask Afrika has published new research on vaccine willingness in South Africa.
The data shows that nearly two in three South Africans (62%) are willing to get vaccinated.
However, when looking at the different age demographics, older South Africans and pensioners are typically more willing to get a vaccine than younger South Africans.
65% of people over the age of 60 said they are willing to get a vaccine, while 63% between the ages of 50 and 59 say they will get the jab.
By comparison, just 54% of South Africans between 18-24 say they are willing to get the vaccine.
The data also shows a difference in South Africa’s different community groups, with the Indian and Asian South Africans most willing to be vaccinated (71%), followed by black South Africans (64%), white South Africans (53%), and coloured South Africans the least willing (45%).
At a provincial level, the North West and Limpopo provinces have the people most willing to get vaccinated, while the Western Cape has the highest level of unwillingness.
Unsurprisingly, the data shows that those who trust the government and health experts the most also have the highest level of vaccine acceptance.
The most common reason that respondents gave for not wanting a vaccine include:
- They don’t trust the vaccine (29%);
- They are concerned about side effects (23%);
- Because they have read concerning or negative information about a vaccine (7%).
A study published in August showed that while vaccine acceptance stood at 72% among South African adults, uptake was some way off that figure.
Among population categories, younger people were less likely to accept vaccines than older people. While the acceptance rate for those aged 55+ stood at 85%, for the 18-24 group, it was only 55%.
Concerning those accepting of a vaccine, the most common explanations for doing so are the desire to protect oneself, the study found. Among the vaccine-hesitant, side effects and concerns that the vaccine will be ineffective are the most common self-reported explanations.
Concerns about side effects and effectiveness of the vaccine are particularly pronounced among white adults, the most vaccine-hesitant group.
Explanations for vaccine hesitancy related to social media or other rumours only make up a small proportion of explanations, 5%. Similarly, reasons related to religious objections or conspiracy theories make up a minority of explanations, 2% respectively.