sakeliga officials covid-19 vaccination


Yikes: New data shows OVER HALF of SA adults ‘unlikely to get a vaccine’

AfroBarometer have found that a large number of South Africans ‘do not trust’ the COVID-19 vaccine – with nearly 50% putting their faith in ‘prayer’.

sakeliga officials covid-19 vaccination


Well, this really is something. AfroBarometer has conducted a new study, to determine the extent of vaccine hesitancy in South Africa – and the results have turned up a very disheartening set of data for the government.

Prayer over Pfizer: Many South Africans to reject vaccines

AfroBarometer interviewed 1 600 adult South Africans in May – June 2021. A sample of this size yields country-level results with a margin of error of 2.5 percentage points either way, giving the researchers a 95% confidence level. Of the hundreds questioned, a significant majority of roughly 57% said they ‘were not likely’ to get their COVID-19 vaccine.

  • Instead, almost half of all respondents said they trusted in prayer over the jab itself.

“Close to half of South Africans (47%) believe that prayer is “somewhat more” or “much more” effective than a vaccine in preventing COVID-19 infection. One in five South Africans (21%) believe that prayer and vaccines are about equally effective, while only a quarter (25%) believe vaccines are more effective.”

“Vaccine hesitancy could pose significant challenges for the government’s vaccination program. If the campaign is to succeed in achieving mass coverage, the government, civil society, and the media will have to maximize their efforts to persuade South Africans of the safety and benefits of accepting a COVID-19 vaccine.”

Who is least likely to get vaccinated in South Africa?

It’s a sobering read. To reach herd immunity, South Africa needs to immunise two-thirds of its adult population.

Other studies, in fairness, do show that upwards of 70% to 75% of South Africans will get the shots, but this is still a low uptake number in comparison to other countries. Almost 90% of UK adults have already had their first vaccine.

AfroBarometer’s sample size may come into question, but what they’ve unearthed is a very strong undercurrent of mistrust for both the government and the vaccine itself. The population demographics also tell an interesting tale:

  • Only 28% of those surveyed trust the SA government to deliver the vaccine safely.
  • South Africans living in urban areas (41%) are less likely than rural residents (49%) to get vaccinated.
  • Women (41%) are less convinced about getting jabbed, compared to men (46%).
  • South Africans experiencing high levels of lived poverty are less open to vaccines (38%) than those better-off (42%-50%).
  • But surprisingly, citizens with no formal schooling (50%) are MORE inclined to get vaccinated than those with primary education (45%).
  • Willingness increases with age, ranging from just one-third (35%) among 18- to 35-year-olds, to six-in-ten (60%-62%) among those over age 55. The graph below helps visualise the stark problems facing SA’s vaccine drive.
Photo: Afrobarometer