Willingness to Get COVID-19 Vaccine Drops as Vaccine Hopes Increase

November 19, 2020 / 15.00 PM --

As many rich countries are set to claim the ‘lion’s share’ of two vaccines announced recently, South Africans’ willingness to be vaccinated has dropped significantly.

In early November, Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna made promising announcements about the likely effectiveness of their coronavirus vaccines, but South Africans Are less eager to get a vaccine.

Sadly, only 19% of the people polled by Kasi Insight said they would get a vaccine. The survey revealed that the majority, intent to get a COVID-19 vaccine has fallen from 32% in September, a 13 percentage point drop.

The first coronavirus vaccines could soon be rolled out after more than 90% efficacy rates were recorded. The two pharmaceutical companies are signing deals with European countries and the US for the roll-out of millions of doses for their Covid-19 patients and other citizens.

The cost factor puts South Africa last in line

As worries are being raised about South Africa being one of the last countries in line to get a vaccine because of the cost involved.

Vice-president for research at the South Africa Medical Research Council, Jeffrey Mphahlele, said the country is currently not in the same category as other countries where the coronavirus is raging, and there are still a number of hurdles that would need to be discussed.

“The cost is something we are unsure of because the vaccine would have to be licensed, and thereafter the dosage would have to be discussed,” said Mphahlele.

Economist Mike Schussler told Independent Newspapers that the logistics of dosages and transportation of the vaccine are two factors that need to be taken into consideration.

The majority of respondents on the fence

The survey revealed that nearly as many, 75% said they neither agree nor disagree to get vaccinated at this time, 5% disagreed. Of those who agreed, 70% trusted the vaccine and its effectiveness, and only 4% disagreed.

Dr. Anthonet Koen, the principal investigator at one of the Covid-19 vaccine trial sites in Gauteng, told Independent Newspapers that it is important that South Africa get a vaccine that’s right.

“We often get overseen and get left behind when it comes to life-saving treatments. If you think about HIV, we were last in line to get access to antiretrovirals, and we don’t want that to happen,” Koen said.

He said there would not be a vaccine in the country this year. “We need to be realistic about this, but hopefully within the first quarter of 2021 we will have something.”

Millennials likely to take the vaccine

The share of millennials who would definitely get a coronavirus vaccine now stands at 88%, more than 7% of the share that said this in September.

The poll found that the willingness to take the vaccine was lower among those still studying, 0,9%, and in high school 2%. In the new poll, 5% said they won’t get the vaccine at all. Another 75% are still unsure.

The number of adults saying they would not get a vaccine is up from 4% in September to 5% in October. This is indicative of significant challenges ahead for the country’s health in achieving mass public compliance with vaccine recommendations.

Also, a significantly higher share of South Africans is not sure if they are going to take coronavirus vaccines if recommended for them.

The latest poll also revealed that 19% think that the vaccination should be mandatory.

Few trust vaccine

More than 18% said they always trust vaccines and their effectiveness, the majority (63%) being males between the ages of 24-39 years.

17% believe the vaccine will be ready for all in the country, 6% disagreed, and 76%, not sure.

Women were 30% of the study population, and 61% of all participants were salaried employees, and 4% business owners. More than two-thirds of the respondents (84%) had vocational training, and 79% were millennials.

The latest data came after the country was placed on COVID-19 alert Level 1, allowing the lifting of restrictions as infection rates nationally decreased significantly. Early this month, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that the country’s borders could finally be opened to all visitors.

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