South Africans unsure of safety of COVID-19 vaccines; many unlikely to get vaccinated

Health

Seven in 10 South Africans have little or no trust in the government’s ability to ensure that COVID-19 vaccines are safe, a new Afrobarometer survey shows.

A majority of South Africans say they are unlikely to try to get vaccinated. Close to half believe prayer is more effective than a vaccine in preventing COVID-19 infection.

As a third wave of COVID-19 infections spreads across South Africa, the government is promoting vaccination as the way to end the pandemic. As of July 2021, Department of Health data indicate that more than 2.3 million South Africans have tested positive for COVID-19 since March 2020 and at least 68,000 have lost their lives to the disease.

If South Africans distrust the COVID-19 vaccine, this will pose a significant challenge for the government’s mass vaccination program.