Women more likely to trust Covid-19 vaccine, study finds

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A health worker holds the Johnson and Johnson vaccine at the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital in Soweto.
A health worker holds the Johnson and Johnson vaccine at the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital in Soweto.
Emmanuel Croset / AFP
  • A study has found men more likely to mistrust the Covid-19 vaccine than women.
  • However, only 52% of respondents said they would get vaccinated.
  • The study also showed that between 8% and 13% of South Africans "don't believe the Covid narrative".

Women are more likely to take the Covid-19 vaccine than men, a study has found.

According to the Ask Afrika Covid-19 Tracker study, South Africans are still torn over whether or not to take the vaccine, with men more likely to decline.

Just over half of the respondents (52%) said they intended to get vaccinated, while 19% said they did not plan to get vaccinated at all.

This is the first time that Ask Afrika has included the issue of vaccines in its Covid-19 Tracker study - a pro-bono study which the company has been conducting since the first week of April 2020 in order to better understand the socio-economic impact that the coronavirus, lockdown and gradual re-opening of the economy has had on South Africans.

Just over a quarter of the respondents (28%) said they were unsure whether they would get vaccinated - and of these, women appeared to be less certain than their male counterparts.

However, the study found that on the whole, men held a "significantly higher sense of distrust" toward the vaccine than women, said Andrea Rademeyer - CEO and founder of Ask Afrika. The vaccine's safety remains a primary concern.

Despite the fact that men had higher levels of distrust around the safety of the vaccine, 20% of women who trust the safety of the vaccine were unsure of whether they would get vaccinated or not. Of the women who didn't trust the safety of the vaccine, 60% said they would not get vaccinated.

"Amongst the male respondents who trust the safety of the vaccine, the speed of delivery to South Africa becomes more important while efficacy is more important for females who trust the safety of the vaccine," added Rademeyer.

However, a concern remained over data which showed the number of South Africans - "who refuse to buy into the Covid narrative" - standing at between 8% to 13% of the population.

"This is a large enough number of potential super-spreaders to potentially drive a new wave of mutations," she said.

She added that even though this study was conducted on a relatively small sample size - a representative sample of the general population consisting of 403 respondents - it indicated how urgently South Africa needed a quantified behavioural model of super-spreaders and vaccines beliefs.

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