COVID-19 vaccine: 36% of youth unwilling to get jabs, study shows

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

Vaccines: 62% willing to be jabbed

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.

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