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Citation Information

Type Working Paper - NIDS-CRAM Working Paper
Title A shot in the arm for South Africa - increased openness to accepting a COVID-19 vaccine: Evidence from NIDS-CRAM Waves 4 and 5
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2021
As South Africa started its mass vaccination campaign on 17 May, many experts raised concerns about whether the country’s ambitious target of administering 60m shots in less than 10 months would be achievable. This paper examines whether vaccine acceptance is as an impediment to vaccine take-up and roll out based on the most recent wave 5 NIDS-CRAM data. Comparing these results to the wave 4 results, we assess the stability of vaccine beliefs over a period of two months. Almost half (47%) of those who ‘disagreed strongly or somewhat or did not know’ in February or March 2021 subsequently changed their minds over the following two months and either had been vaccinated or agreed to be vaccinated when asked again in April or May.

We analyse the open-ended questions on why respondents are concerned about the safety of vaccines to better understand what beliefs underpin vaccine attitudes and stated intentions and how strongly individuals hold their beliefs regarding vaccines. One in five South Africans worry that COVID-19 vaccines are unsafe, but only one in 10 are very convinced of this. While there has been a substantial increase in vaccine acceptance, concerns about demand constraints remain due to the relatively modest share of the eligible population who have registered for vaccines two months after registrations opened for this group. A substantial proportion of South Africans still need to be convinced to get vaccinated. In particular, we need to bear in mind that stated willingness represents attitudes and beliefs, and frequently may not translate into behaviour and action.

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