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.


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.


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


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.


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.


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.


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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