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Two thirds of SA adults are willing to take Covid-19 vaccine

Findings weighted by race, education and age.
Those who rely more on radio and television as a source of information rather than social media appear less susceptible to conspiracy theories. Image: Anthony Devlin, Bloomberg

A survey conducted by the University of Johannesburg (UJ), in partnership with the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC), found that 67% of respondents are willing to take the Covid-19 vaccine; 18% said they would not vaccinate; and 15% said they were not sure if they would.

“The key point is that a majority of people, whatever their politics or demographics, want the vaccine,” says Professor Kate Alexander, South African Research Chair in Social Change at UJ.

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Read: Vaccine production in South Africa

The survey was completed online by 10 618 participants and is broadly representative of the population at large. It was data-free and available in the country’s six most used languages.

In addition, it demonstrated that vaccine acceptance is influenced by education, political affiliations, and race.

Voting intentions and demographics

Although firm conclusions cannot be drawn at this stage, Alexander believes the political affiliations and demographics of the respondents reinforce each other in this survey.

“The ANC has particularly strong backing among older people, who are more likely to support vaccines than younger people, and, compared with the DA, it has more support among black people.”

According to the report, 78% of those who intended to vote ANC were willing to take the vaccine. This was in contrast to 65% of DA and 62% of EFF supporters respectively.

“The president is seen to be doing a good job by a majority of the population, but his appeal is uneven, and doubtless greater among ANC voters,” says Alexander.

Approximately 69% of black adults in the survey said they intend to take the vaccine, compared with 55% of white adults.

Although marginal, she indicated that conspiracy theories spread on social media may have a role in influencing this statistic.

Broadly speaking, black adults rely more on television and radio as a source of information, which makes these conspiracy theories less effective on this segment of the population.

Education

The survey suggested that 72% of adults with less than a matric-level education would be willing to take the vaccination. In comparison, only 59% of those with a tertiary education would accept the vaccine.

For Professor Narnia Bohler-Muller, divisional executive at HSRC, the main issues for respondents with a tertiary qualification were potential side effects and fast turnaround time.

Read: SA study into new virus strain raises vaccine fears

“They are asking for more scientific information to convince them,” she says. “As with most educated people they are generally sceptical until presented with solid evidence.”

Listen to Ryk van Niekerk’s interview with Sygnia CEO Magda Wierzycka about the uproar regarding SA’s procurement of the Covid-19 vaccine (or read the transcript here):

Michael Brown is a Moneyweb intern.

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The majority also votes for the ANC.

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