COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy in South Africa: how can we maximize uptake of COVID-19 vaccines?
Cooper, S.; van Rooyen, H.; Wiysonge, C.Shey.
Expert Review of Vaccines 2021: 1-13
Introduction: Acceptance of COVID-19 vaccines is critical to personal health, protecting vulnerable populations, reopening socio-economic life, and achieving population health and safety through immunity. The primary aim of this review was to investigate the extent and determinants of COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy in South Africa to inform the development of strategies to address it. A secondary aim was to enhance understandings of and responses to vaccine hesitancy more generally in South Africa, with potential positive effect on vaccination uptake during and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic.Areas covered: We reviewed the findings from surveys conducted in South Africa from February 2020 to March 2021 that investigated acceptance of COVID-19 vaccines. Surveys were identified through searching electronic databases of peer-reviewed and gray literature and contacting experts.Expert opinion: The review reveals the inherently social nature of COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy in South Africa, potentially influenced by age, race, education, politics, geographical location, and employment. Along with the provision of information, COVID-19 vaccine communication strategies need to form part of broader trust-building measures that focus on relationships, transparency, participation, and justice. The pandemic also provides a unique opportunity to positively intervene and reduce vaccine hesitancy trends more generally in South Africa and potentially elsewhere.