Afrikaans speakers 42% more likely to reject Covid-19 vaccine - survey
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Cape Town - Around 71% of South African adults would get the Covid-19 vaccine when it becomes available, however, Afrikaans home language respondents were 42% more likely to be vaccine hesitant, higher than the national average of 29%.
The lowest vaccine hesitancy rates were found among Venda (18%) and Ndebele (19%) respondents, as well as Xhosa, Zulu and Pedi respondents (all 25%).
The National Income Dynamics Study – Coronavirus Rapid Mobile Survey (Nids-Cram) found that of those willing to get the shot, 55% chose “Strongly agree” and 16% selected “Somewhat agree”.
The findings were released on Wednesday during an online media briefing and authors said the survey is the most representative vaccine intention for adults in South Africa to date.
Younger respondents between the ages of 18-25, were more likely to be vaccine hesitant than older adults. Only 63% of the youth in the survey were willing to take the shot, as opposed to around 73% of respondents above the age of 35.
Around 29% of the adults in the survey said they would not agree to getting the vaccine. Of this group 16% strongly disagreed, 8% somewhat disagreed, and under 6% of adults reported that they do not know if they would accept a vaccination.
The main concerns for the respondents not willing to be vaccinated were that they were worried about the side effects, they did not believe it was effective or did not trust vaccines in general.
Vaccine acceptance in South Africa, according to the survey, is higher than recent estimates from the US and France, but lower than China, Brazil and the United Kingdom.
Respondents who cited social media as their trusted information source were seven percentage points more likely to be vaccine hesitant.
Those most at risks of Covid-19 were more willing than the general population to accept a vaccine. The survey found that the elderly and those with chronic conditions were more likely to get the shot, however, respondents who were obese or experience hypertension were more vaccine hesitant.
While the authors of the study said the survey is not provincially representative, results found that respondents from the Western Cape were more likely not to accept the vaccine.
In the Western Cape, 42% of respondents were vaccine hesitant, 41% in the Northern Cape, 22% in Limpopo, 26% in the North West and 28% in Gauteng were vaccine hesitant.
“Taken together, these language and provincial results suggest that campaigns targeted at both of these provinces and at Afrikaans home language speakers is supported by this data. We recommend further community engagement and research to investigate and understand this finding,” said authors of the survey.