More than 60 per cent of Kenyans sampled in four counties are hesitant to take the Covid 19 vaccine, says a study by Kenya Medical Research Institute.
The study carried out among 4,136 Kenyans in Nairobi, Wajir, Kilifi, and Kisumu counties found 61 per cent hesitant to take the vaccine.
“Overall the level of Covid 19 vaccine hesitancy reported is high at 60.61 per cent, as compared to childhood vaccine acceptance in Kenya,” says the new study.
Hesitancy was highest in Wajir County at almost 90 per cent followed by Kilifi 54 per cent, Nairobi 51 per cent and lowest in Kisumu at 37 per cent.
Also involved in the study posted on medRxiv preprint platform on Wednesday (17th June 2021 are the Population Council offices of Nairobi and US.
The authors, says older persons, less educated, and people who find it difficult to adhere to current Covid 19 prevention regulations were highly likely to hesitate taking the vaccine.
Other people likely to hesitate, the study says are those with less adherence to wearing of face masks, not having ever been tested for Covid-19 and those who have not faced economic losses associated with the pandemic.
Also those with concerns over the vaccines’ safety and effectiveness, the study found were likely to report hesitancy.
Across all study counties, respondents over 58 years, the married, those who had no schooling or only preprimary level of education reported vaccine hesitancy.
The authors say while the study was carried out in February, a few weeks before vaccination started, the findings provide important information for policymakers.
“There is a need for the prioritization of interventions to address vaccine hesitancy and improve vaccine confidence as part of the roll-out plan.”
The study, partially funded by the Office of the President calls for more transparency since ‘the hesitancy may be linked with reduced trust in institutions or government.’
“There is a critical need for accurate and transparent information from trusted sources to combat misinformation particularly around vaccine side effects and effectiveness” says the study.
By Gatonye Gathura