Across Africa, two-thirds of citizens interviewed expressed willingness to accept COVID-19 vaccines, Africa Centre for Diseases Control (DCD) report said on Friday.
A statement from Africa CDC made this known as part of the findings of a report released by the Partnership for Evidence-Based Response to COVID-19 (PERC) Consortium in Addisa Ababa, Ethiopia.
The consortium is made up of public health organisations such as the Diseases Control and Prevention; Resolve to Save Lives, an initiative of Vital Strategies; the World Health Organisation.
Others are the UK Public Health Rapid Support Team; the World Economic Forum and private sector firms such as market research company, IPSOS.
The report said the sentiment varied across the continent in the 19 member countries surveyed, adding that 91 per cent of the people surveyed in Morocco were most interested in receiving the vaccines.
It said Tunisia and Cameroon had the lowest number of people, at 35 per cent.
It revealed levels of acceptability in other countries as follows; South Africa (61 per cent), Zimbabwe (61 per cent), Nigeria (72 per cent), Zambia (53 per cent), Mozambique (75 per cent), Egypt (78 per cent), Kenya (59 per cent), and the Democratic Republic of Congo (52 per cent).
It said the survey was part of the third series of data collection and analysis from PERC with a combine results from phone surveys on the impact of Public Health and Social Measures (PHSMs) with information on epidemiological trends, media monitoring and data on population mobility.
Dr Emmanuel Agogo, the Nigeria Country Representative of Resolve to Save Lives outlined the reasons for vaccine hesitancy identified in the research.
Agogo said some of the reasons were lack of enough information on the vaccine, negative and unsubstantiated reports on the adverse effects of the vaccine, among others.
He urged the media to take responsibility for enlightening audiences.
“Journalists can inform and increase public confidence in vaccines,” Agogo said.
He further encouraged journalists not to be sensational in reporting on vaccines since many myths were perpetuated; they should instead distribute reliable and accurate information.
Agogo said: “Journalists should do research, check the facts and use trusted sources of information.”
Nekerwon Gweh, Communication Officer of the Africa CDC in a presentation, recommended that African countries should continue the rollout of the vaccine.
The centre gave the recommendation during a webinar hosted by the African CDC, public strategy firm, Gatefield, and the Global Health Advocacy Incubator, to engage journalists on the issue of COVID-19 vaccines safety, effectiveness and distribution.
An expert panel of journalists shared their experiences covering vaccines at the event and advocated for more responsible reporting on the subject.
They included Hopewell Chin’ono, an award winning investigative journalist from Zimbabwe; Dr Laz Ude Eze, AIT television host; Tanya Farber, senior science reporter, Sunday Times.
Others are Vuyo Mkize, health writer, City Press; and Elizabeth Merab, health and science journalist, Nation Media Group.