UBC Faculty Research and Publications

COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy in Africa: a scoping review Ackah, Betty B. B.; Woo, Michael; Stallwood, Lisa; Fazal, Zahra A.; Okpani, Arnold; Ukah, Ugochinyere V.; Adu, Prince A.


Background Vaccination against the novel coronavirus is one of the most effective strategies for combating the global Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. However, vaccine hesitancy has emerged as a major obstacle in several regions of the world, including Africa. The objective of this rapid review was to summarize the literature on COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy in Africa. Methods We searched Scopus, Web of Science, African Index Medicus, and OVID Medline for studies published from January 1, 2020, to March 8, 2022, examining acceptance or hesitancy towards the COVID-19 vaccine in Africa. Study characteristics and reasons for COVID-19 vaccine acceptance were extracted from the included articles. Results A total of 71 articles met the eligibility criteria and were included in the review. Majority (n = 25, 35%) of the studies were conducted in Ethiopia. Studies conducted in Botswana, Cameroun, Cote D’Ivoire, DR Congo, Ghana, Kenya, Morocco, Mozambique, Nigeria, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, Togo, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe were also included in the review. The vaccine acceptance rate ranged from 6.9 to 97.9%. The major reasons for vaccine hesitancy were concerns with vaccine safety and side effects, lack of trust for pharmaceutical industries and misinformation or conflicting information from the media. Factors associated with positive attitudes towards the vaccine included being male, having a higher level of education, and fear of contracting the virus. Conclusions Our review demonstrated the contextualized and multifaceted reasons inhibiting or encouraging vaccine uptake in African countries. This evidence is key to operationalizing interventions based on facts as opposed to assumptions. Our paper provided important considerations for addressing the challenge of COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy and blunting the impact of the pandemic in Africa.

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