IN May, South Africa begins its mass COVID-19 vaccination campaign, aimed at reaching 40 million people – the minimum to reach herd immunity – by the beginning of next year. As even wealthy nations are struggling with their rollouts, the South African campaign will be keenly watched by other developing countries. But even if enough vaccines, syringes, and pharmacists can be deployed, the country – like many others – may ultimately run into a problem of too few people willing to sign up for the vaccine.
A recent Human Sciences Research Council and University of Johannesburg study found that nearly two thirds of adults – the minimum vaccine coverage required to achieve herd immunity – would accept a vaccination. But 18 percent said they would refuse vaccinations, and 15 percent remained undecided.