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17 August 2021

Survey shows that acceptance of vaccines is increasing but challenges remain

Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC)
Press Release

Johannesburg, Tuesday 17 August 2021 –  On 18 August 2021, the Centre for Social Change, University of Johannesburg (UJ) in collaboration with the Developmental, Ethical and Capable State research division of the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) will release two reports at a webinar, which will provide the latest findings about vaccine acceptance and hesitancy from the UJ/HSRC Covid-19 Democracy Survey. 

Key findings include:

•That vaccine acceptance increased between round 3 of the survey and round 4, from 67% to 72%. 

•Younger people are less likely to be accepting of vaccines than older people. While the acceptance rate for those aged 55+ stood at 85%, an increase of 11 percentage points since Round 3. But for the 18-24 group it was only 55%, a decline of 8 perceantage points. 

•Vaccine acceptance declined amongst White adults from 56% to 52%, while it increased from 69% to 75% for Black African adults. However, White adults were more likely than Black Africans to have been vaccinated (16% compared to 10%).

•Contrary to other research, we find that religiosity plays little role in influencing the willingness to vaccinate.

•Amongst those that are accepting of a vaccine, the most common explanations are the desire to protect oneself. 

•Amongst those that are hesitant, side effects and concerns that the vaccine will be ineffective are the most common self-reported explanations.  Concerns about side-effects and effectiveness of the vaccine are particularly pronounced amongst White adults, the most vaccine hesitant group. 

•Explanations for vaccine hesitancy related to social media or other rumours only make up a small proportion of explanations, 5%. Similarly, reasons related to religious objections or conspiracy theories make up a minority of explanations, 2% respectively. 

The webinar will discuss these and other key findings from the reports. In particular, the differences between willingness to vaccinate and issues of access will be drawn out. Furthermore, the webinar will highlight in more detail the concerns of the vaccine hesitant. We will also provide recommendations on what can be done to improve the roll-out and the concerns that public health messaging may want to address. 

These latest findings come from round 4 of the UJ/HSRC Covid-19 democracy survey, which collected data between 25 June and 12 July 2021.The survey was fully completed by 7,631 participants. Findings have been weighted to match Statistics South Africa data on race, education and age, and can be regarded as broadly representative of the population at large

Details of the Webinar

Date:18 August 2021

Time:10h30 – 12h00

Zoom Link:

Prof Carin Runciman, Director, Centre for Social Change, University of Johannesburg

073 953 4396/ 

Prof Narnia Bohler-Muller. Division Executive, Developmental, Capable and Ethical State division, HSRC

066 085 0459/

Prof Kate Alexander, South African Research Chair in Social Change, University of Johannesburg

082 332 8802/ 

Dr Ben Roberts, Coordinator: South African Social Attitudes Survey and Chief Research Specialist: Developmental, Capable and Ethical State division, HSRC

084 523 0374/