Predictors of COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy in South African local communities: the VaxScenes study

SOURCE: Vaccines
OUTPUT TYPE: Journal Article
TITLE AUTHOR(S): P.D.M.C.Katoto, S.Parker, N.Coulson, N.Pillay, S.Cooper, A.Jaca, E.Mavundza, G.Houston, C.Groenewald, Z.Essack, J.Simmonds, L.D.Shandu, M.Couch, N.Khuzwayo, N.Ncube, P.Bhengu, H.Van Rooyen, C.S.Wiysonge
DEPARTMENT: Developmental, Capable and Ethical State (DCES), Public Health, Societies and Belonging (HSC), Impact Centre (IC), Impact Centre (PRESS), Impact Centre (CC)
Print: HSRC Library: shelf number 9812326
HANDLE: 20.500.11910/19376

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South Africa launched a mass COVID-19 vaccination campaign in May 2021, targeting 40 million adults. Understanding predictors of COVID-19 vaccine intentions was required to achieve this goal. We conducted a population-based survey in June-July 2021 using the WHO Behavioral and Social Drivers (BeSD) of COVID-19 Vaccination tool to determine predictors of vaccine hesitancy, defined as intention to refuse or uncertainty whether to accept COVID-19 vaccination. There were 1193 participants, mean age 39 (standard deviation 15) years, and 53% women, of whom 58% trusted information provided by healthcare workers and 32% were vaccine hesitant. Independent predictors of vaccine hesitancy included concerns about side effects (odds ratio (OR) 11.41; 95% confidence interval (CI) 3.5-50.80), lack of access to the online vaccine registration platform (OR 4.75; CI 2.15-10.37), distrust of government (OR 3.0; CI 1.33-6.77), belief in conspiracy theories (OR 3.01; CI 1.32-6.77), having no monthly income (OR 1.84; CI 1.12???3.07), and depending on someone else to make vaccination decision (OR 2.47; CI 1.06-5.77). We identified modifiable predictors of vaccine hesitancy at the start of South Africa's COVID-19 vaccination rollout. These factors should be addressed by different stakeholders involved in the national immunization program through tailored communication and other effective strategies that increase vaccine literacy, reach low-income households, and engender confidence in government.