University of Johannesburg: Survey shows that acceptance of vaccines is increasing but challenges remain

​Today, 18 August 2021, the Centre for Social Change, University of Johannesburg (UJ) in collaboration with the Developmental, Ethical and Capable State research division of the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) released two reports at a webinar ( Report 1 & Report 2 ), which provided the latest findings about vaccine acceptance and hesitancy from the UJ/HSRC Covid-19 Democracy Survey.

Key findings included;
That vaccine acceptance increased between round 3 of the survey and round 4, from 67% to 72%.
Younger people are less likely to be accepting of vaccines than older people. While the acceptance rate for those aged 55+ stood at 85%, an increase of 11 percentage points since Round 3. But for the 18-24 group it was only 55%, a decline of 8 percentage points.
Vaccine acceptance declined amongst White adults from 56% to 52%, while it increased from 69% to 75% for Black African adults. However, White adults were more likely than Black Africans to have been vaccinated (16% compared to 10%).
Contrary to other research, we find that religiosity plays little role in influencing the willingness to vaccinate.
Amongst those that are accepting of a vaccine, the most common explanations are the desire to protect oneself.
Amongst those that are hesitant, side effects and concerns that the vaccine will be ineffective are the most common self-reported explanations. Concerns about side-effects and effectiveness of the vaccine are particularly pronounced amongst White adults, the most vaccine-hesitant group.
Explanations for vaccine hesitancy related to social media or other rumours only make up a small proportion of explanations, 5%. Similarly, reasons related to religious objections or conspiracy theories make up a minority of explanations, 2% respectively.

The webinar discussed these and other key findings from the reports. In particular, the differences between willingness to vaccinate and issues of access will be drawn out. Furthermore, the webinar will highlight in more detail the concerns of the vaccine hesitant. We will also provide recommendations on what can be done to improve the roll-out and the concerns that public health messaging may want to address.

These latest findings come from round 4 of the UJ/HSRC Covid-19 democracy survey, which collected data between 25 June and 12 July 2021. The survey was fully completed by 7,631 participants. Findings have been weighted to match Statistics South Africa data on race, education, and age, and can be regarded as broadly representative of the population at large