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Four in five Africans ‘would take Covid-19 vaccine’

Image: Ascannio, via Shutterstock.com

But acceptance rates vary between countries

Four in five Africans would take a Covid-19 vaccine if offered it, a survey of more than 15,000 adults in 15 African countries has revealed. 

The survey, published on 17 December by the African Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, identifies the continent as having one of the highest vaccine acceptance rates in the world—79 per cent. 

However, there is great variance between the participating countries, ranging from 94 per cent acceptance rate in Ethiopia to 59 per cent in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. South Africa is somewhere in the middle. 

Heidi Larson from the London school of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in the United Kingdom, who co-led the study, presented the results in a webinar.

She said the reasons people gave for not wanting to take the vaccine included not trusting its safety, not believing the virus exists, not feeling at risk of illness, or believing that the vaccine could cause the disease it means to protect against. 

“These reasons are not unique to Covid-19,” said Larson, but were similar when the Ebola vaccine was rolled out. 

It’s encouraging that many Africans are happy to take the vaccine, she said. She added that at this time of uncertainty it’s “quite reasonable” that a number of people feel doubt about a new vaccine. 

In a statement, John Nkengasong, Africa CDC director, described the survey as "an eye opener that provides critical scientific evidence to guide interventions."