COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy among non-refugees and refugees in Kenya
Factors associated with COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy (which we define as refusal to be vaccinated when asked, resulting in delayed or non- vaccination) are poorly studied in sub-Saharan Africa and among refugees, particularly in Kenya. Using survey data from wave five (March to June 2021) of the Kenya Rapid Response Phone Survey (RRPS), a household survey representative of the population of Kenya, we estimated the self-reported rates and factors associated with vaccine hesitancy among non-refugees and refugees in Kenya. Non-refugee households were recruited through sampling of the 2015/16 Kenya Household Budget Survey and random digit dialing. Refugee households were recruited through random sampling of registered refugees. Binary response questions on misinformation and information were transformed into a scale. We performed a weighted (to be representative of the overall population of Kenya) multivariable logistic regression including interactions for refugee status, with the main outcome being if the respondent self-reported that they would not take the COVID-19 vaccine if available at no cost. We calculated the marginal effects of the various factors in the model. The weighted univariate analysis estimated that 18.0% of non-refugees and 7.0% of refugees surveyed in Kenya would not take the COVID-19 vaccine if offered at no cost. Adjusted, refugee status was associated with a -13.1[95%CI:-17.5,-8.7] percentage point difference (ppd) in vaccine hesitancy. For the both refugees and non-refugees, having education beyond the primary level, having symptoms of COVID-19, avoiding handshakes, and washing hands more often were also associated with a reduction in vaccine hesitancy. Also for both, having used the internet in the past three months was associated with a 8.1[1.4,14.7] ppd increase in vaccine hesitancy; and disagreeing that the government could be trusted in responding to COVID-19 was associated with a 25.9[14.2,37.5]ppd increase in vaccine hesitancy. There were significant interactions between refugee status and some variables (geography, food security, trust in the Kenyan government’s response to COVID-19, knowing somebody with COVID-19, internet use, and TV ownership). These relationships between refugee status and certain variables suggest that programming between refugees and non-refugees be differentiated and specific to the contextual needs of each group.