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Brain and Mind Institute; Internal Medicine (East Africa)


Background: Vaccine hesitancy, as defined by the WHO, is the reluctance or refusal to vaccinate despite the availability of vaccines and is one of the ten threats to global health in 2019. Vaccine hesitancy remains a complex matter influenced by multiple factors, especially in sub-Saharan Africa.

Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional study between November 2021 and January 2022 among the general adult public seeking care at six different healthcare facilities in Kenya. The survey, in English, consisted of questions based on demographics, knowledge, and attitudes, including hesitancy towards the COVID-19 vaccine.

Results: Of the 3996 surveys collected, 55.1% were from private, 19.5% from faith-based and 25.3% from government facilities., Approximately 81.0% of all the participants reported it was important to get a vaccine to protect other people from COVID-19, 79.9% reported they would take a vaccine to protect against COVID-19, yet 40.5% reported being hesitant to take the vaccine primarily due to side effects. Most of the variables were associated with receiving a vaccine. Only 52.1% of those seeking care from the government facility and 54.5% of those seeking care from the faith-based facility were vaccinated, compared to 81.5% seeking care from the private facilities (p < 0.001). More participants from private facilities felt that vaccines are safe as compared to those at the faith-based and government facilities (p < 0.001).

Conclusion: Vaccine hesitancy in Kenya, even though much lower than reported in other countries, remains a dynamic problem. Mitigating strategies specific to Africa need to be developed to help address vaccine hesitancy in this part of the continent.

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Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.