HSRC survey reveals vaccine acceptance in SA has increased to 72%
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Pretoria - The Human Sciences Research Council's (HSRC) latest acceptance and hesitancy survey has revealed that even though vaccine acceptance in the country had increased to 72%, getting vaccines to the people still proved challenging for the health sector.
The survey was conducted by the Centre for Social Change, at the University of Johannesburg (UJ) in collaboration with the Developmental, Ethical, and Capable State research division of the HSRC.
The sample data and results were collected between June 25 and July 12 surveying roughly 7 631 participants.
The recent findings indicate that vaccine acceptance in South Africa has increased from 67% to 72%, with younger persons being less likely to accept the vaccine than older persons.
In that, the acceptance rate for persons above 55 years of age had increased by 11% to 85%, while for persons between 18 to 24 years of age the numbers had declined by 8% to only 55% of youngsters being willing to take the jab.
And while the acceptance of the Covid-19 vaccine amongst white adults had taken a knock moving from 56% in the third round of the survey to only 52%, the number of black adults had increased from 69% to 75%.
Notwithstanding these figures, researchers said white adults were more likely than black adults to have been vaccinated.
Researchers also picked up that the most common self-reported explanations regarding the vaccine hesitancy included concerns about the vaccine's side effects and its overall efficacy.
Professor Kate Alexander, the South African Research Chair in Social Change at UJ, said the recent results fell short of the government's 80% target, and with only about 20% of adults having received one shot of the vaccine, the country faced a considerable challenge.
Alexander said they found there were more people with medical aid as well as those with cars being twice as likely to be vaccinated, something which spoke to the prevailing inequality in the country.
"There were no complaints about better off people getting themselves vaccinated as they did so within the rules, but if poor people had the same kind of access as those with cars far more people would have been vaccinated."
She added that although there were more vaccines available and more people coming forward, the challenges picked up in the recent survey highlighted the importance of access and getting vaccines to the people as envisioned.
"There is an imbalance between rural areas and black urban areas with the worst off being those in the poorest parts of the country, this aspect of inequality and lack of access requires we would argue urgent attention."
Interestingly the survey found that whilst vaccine acceptance had declined among DA and EFF supporters, the latter had indicated that more ANC voters were accepting of a vaccination.
The results also indicated that although there were a few disparities when it came to gender differences and their explanations of hesitancy, it was noticed that women were more concerned about the side effects compared to men.