Johannesburg - Acceptance of vaccines is increasing in South Africa but challenges remain, including younger people being less likely to be accepting of vaccines than older people, a University of Johannesburg (UJ) and Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) survey shows.
Vaccine hesitancy has been at the forefront of the debate this week after the national Department of Health conceded that its Covid-19 vaccination drive has lost momentum due to vaccine hesitancy.
On Wednesday, UJ and the HSRC released two reports that provided the latest findings about vaccine acceptance and hesitancy from round four of the UJ/HSRC Covid-19 democracy survey.
The data was collected between June 25 and July 12 and was fully completed by 7 631 participants.
Research chairperson in social change at UJ, Professor Kate Alexander, said the survey showed that vaccine acceptance had increased to 72% from 67% in the previous round. But she said there was a large gap between those who said they want to vaccinate and those who actually had been vaccinated (10%).
She added that there was a big problem with younger people, who were less likely to be accepting of vaccines. According to the survey, the vaccine acceptance rate for those aged 55 and above stood at 85%, but for the 18 to 24-year-old group, it was only 55%. Director of the Centre of Social Change at UJ,
Professor Carin Runciman, said some explanations that young people provided on vaccine hesitancy included a sense that they could afford to wait and see.
“This demonstrates that young people’s concerns are not necessarily distinct, but may suggest that there is a need to provide more public health messaging …”
The survey revealed that vaccination acceptance declined among white adults, while it increased for black African adults.