Background:

South Africa is aiming to achieve herd immunity against the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) by the first quarter of 2022. The success of the COVID-19 vaccination roll-out depends primarily on the willingness of the population to take the vaccines.


Aim:

This study aimed to examine the willingness to take the COVID-19 vaccine, along with the factors of concern, efficacy and preferences of the individual, which may increase the willingness to be vaccinated.


Setting:

This study was conducted at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, amongst adult students and Academic and professional staff.


Methods:

A cross-sectional online survey from 27 July 2021 to 14 August 2021 was conducted. We performed descriptive and inferential analysis to determine the factors associated with willingness to take the COVID-19 vaccine.


Results:

A total of 2364 participants responded to a survey link and 82.0% were students, 66.8% were in the 18-29 years age band and females represented 64.0%. A total of 1965 participants (83.3%) were willing to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, the most preferred vaccines were Pfizer (41%) and JJ (23%), local pharmacy (29%) and General Practitioner (GP) (17%) were the preferred places for vaccination and the trusted sources of information on COVID-19 vaccines were the general practitioners (40.6%) and specialists (19.2%). Perceptions that vaccines are safe (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] = 31.56, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 16.02-62.12 for affirmative agreement) and effective (aOR = 5.92, 95% CI: 2.87-12.19 for affirmative agreement) were the main determinants of willingness to taking a COVID-19 vaccine.


Conclusion:

It is imperative to reinforce the message of COVID-19 vaccine safety and efficacy and to include the GPs and the community pharmacies in the vaccination roll-out in South Africa.


Keywords:

COVID-19; South Africa; vaccination; vaccine hesitancy; willingness to be vaccinated.



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A study on willingness to take the COVID-19 vaccine at a tertiary institution community in Johannesburg, South Africa

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