Nearly 70 percent of the African population is ready to be vaccinated against the coronavirus amid mounting concerns over the virus’s heavy toll on economies, livelihoods and health, says a poll that was launched in Nairobi on Wednesday.
The survey that was conducted in six African countries by international market research agency, GeoPoll, in late November indicates that COVID-19 vaccine acceptance in the continent has improved.
“GeoPoll’s study found that many populations in Africa are ready for a vaccine to be available, with almost 70 percent of people in some countries including South Africa stating that they are willing to take a vaccine as soon as it is available,” said Roxana Elliott, vice president of marketing at GeoPoll.
The survey on acceptance for a vaccine against the pandemic in Africa covered nearly 3,000 people in Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, Cote d’Ivoire, South Africa and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
It says that a third of respondents strongly agree that the COVID-19 vaccine is safe while an additional 21 percent were skeptical and 29 percent were non-committal.
“Confidence in vaccine safety is highest in Nigeria and South Africa, where 41 and 35 percent respectively strongly agree that vaccines are safe,” says the poll.
“Those in the DRC were most likely to report that they strongly disagree that vaccines are safe, at 23 percent of respondents. There were no large differences observed by age and gender,” it adds.
It says that trust in the information disseminated by governments correlated with higher acceptance for the vaccine in the six African countries where the survey was conducted.
The survey says that respondents were also concerned about the cost of the vaccine and demographic groups that were likely to be given urgent priority.
Elliott said there was a direct link between the heavy toll of the pandemic on economies, lives and livelihoods and the willingness to be inoculated.
“Those in countries such as Kenya and South Africa, who have been greatly impacted by COVID-19 and related restrictions, are more willing to take the vaccine,” said Elliott.
She said that the establishment of seamless transportation logistics combined with grassroots-based campaigns on the safety and efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccine is key to boost its uptake in Africa.