There has been a decline in vaccine demand amongst South Africans, most notably the youth. This was revealed in a survey conducted by Ask Afrika between May and June 2021.
When the Department of Health began allowing people aged between 18-34 to get their jabs, there were expectations of the cohort exceeding the other age groups in the roll-out, due to the supposed keenness to queue up for vaccines. The latest survey however tells a different story.
Approximately 36% of the youth are significantly unwilling to take the vaccine, the survey shows. While those aged 60 and older were more open to being jabbed.
Almost a third (28%) of South Africans are unwilling to get vaccinated – something which the survey links to high levels of emotional distress.
“The emotional distress is exceptionally high: it’s an average of above 50% which means that half of our citizens are under emotional distress. Now if you are on continuous emotional distress, it’s like post-traumatic stress disorder – you’re less able to receive messaging,” said Ask Afrika CEO Andrea Rademeyer.
“This is a big, big challenge for the youth, you can very clearly see, 18 to 24-year-olds are least willing to get vaccinated. This very clearly indicates that we need a lot more communication around the side of things,”
Ask Afrika CEO Andrea Rademeyer
The Ask Afrika survey also showed that two out of three people are willing to get their COVID-19 vaccines, when eligible.
Another worrying finding from the study is that nearly half of the population is not aware of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout plan. About 62% of people are willing to take the vaccine while 11% of the population have not yet made up their minds.
The survey sampled 2 000 South Africans and also found there is a lack of trust, particularly amongst the coloured community.
“The coloured community is less likely to trust government. Vaccine communications have mainly been from government; business has not been as visible. For that reason I think where the coloured community has less trust in government communications they will be less likely to actually believe government messaging,” Rademeyer said.