More than a third of SA won’t get the Covid-19 vaccine when available

Around the world, 29 potential vaccines are currently being tested on humans. AFP/File/CHANDAN KHANNA

Only Russia, Poland, Hungary and France, had lower rates of intent that South Africa, with 36% citing concerns about possible side effects as the reason they won’t get vaccinated.

More than a third of South Africans would not be willing to get a Covid-19 vaccine when it becomes available, A new study suggests .

The study was conducted by market researchers at Ipsos, for the World Economic Forum, and saw almost 20,000 people from 27 countries around the globe surveyed between late July and early August.

Overall, 74% of those surveyed agreed they would get a vaccine if one were found. At just 64%, though, intent in South Africa was the fifth-lowest. It was lower only in Russia, Poland, Hungary and France.

And of those South Africans who did agree they would get a vaccine, only 29% “strongly” agreed. Another 35% only “somewhat” agreed.

In line with global trends, more than half of the South Africans who said they would not get vaccinated – 53% – cited concerns about the side effects as the reason. This was the number one reason around the world, Ipsos said.

Other reasons included doubts about the effectiveness of a vaccine – cited by 24% of the South Africans who said they would not get vaccinated – and not being at “enough” risk – cited by 16%.

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Overall, 17% of those surveyed who said they would not get vaccinated cited general opposition to vaccines. This was higher than average in South Africa, where 23% based their responses on this.

Ipsos said the research highlighted that “specific issues” had to be addressed before a vaccine would be universally accepted.

“The reasons given for not intending to be vaccinated focus on four major issues, but the importance of these issues differ from country to country,” it said.

“The WHO, national governments and pharmaceutical companies distributing the vaccines should thus develop differentiated strategies to address these issues for different countries as it will be important to achieve the so-called ‘herd immunity’ before the threat of the SARS-Cov-2 virus will disappear”.

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