Alongside the challenges of vaccine availability and efficacy in South Africa, there is widespread concern about people’s willingness to be vaccinated. In a recent survey conducted by researchers at the University of Johannesburg and Human Sciences Research Council, it found that only two-thirds of South African adults would definitely or probably accept a vaccine (if available) and that 15% of adults didn’t know, and 18% of adults would definitely or probably not take a vaccine. The research concludes that vaccine hesitancy is mostly due to a range of legitimate concerns including the rapid vaccine development and side effects, but also due to misinformation, conspiracy theories, and negative social media around the coronavirus in general.
Historically in our communities, we have had very little exposure to adult vaccination campaigns, compounding vaccine hesitancy challenges. In response, we have launched a Vaccination Literacy Campaign to educate our community members about the COVID-19 vaccine in preparation for roll-out.
We will disseminate clear and accurate information through our Nomakhayas (Home-Based Carers), the Bulungula Community Radio, and informational posters shared in community hubs (schools, spazas, community WhatsApp groups, etc.). We believe that building trust through vaccine literacy is vital for community members to make informed decisions to take the vaccine.
Stay tuned each week for our informational posters — we hope that they may also be relevant for your communities!
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