Vaccine hesitancy in low- and middle-income countries

While the recently developed COVID-19 vaccines offer the hope of ending the pandemic, ending the pandemic is only feasible if individuals take the vaccine. In the US, a large portion of individuals report being hesitant to receive the vaccine. A key question then is whether individuals living in low and middle-income countries (LMIC) are have high rates of vaccine hesitancy.

A paper by Solís Arce et al. 2021 answers this question by conducting a survey of nearly 45,000 individuals living in 10 LMICs, Russia and the United States. The authors find that: , including a total of 44,260 individuals

The average acceptance rate across the full set of LMIC studies is 80.3% (95% confidence interval (CI) 74.9–85.6%), with a median of 78%…The acceptance rate in every LMIC sample is higher than in the United States (64.6%, CI 61.8–67.3%) and Russia (30.4%, CI 29.1–31.7%). Reported acceptance is lowest in Burkina Faso (66.5%, CI 63.5–69.5%) and Pakistan (survey 2; 66.5%, CI 64.1–68.9%). 

Across individuals who were willing to take the vaccine, the main reason for taking the vaccine was personal protection, with family protection typically coming in second place. Across individuals who were not willing ot take the vaccine, the main reason was concern over side effects, although some countries (Mozambique, Uganda and Pakistan) noted skepticism over vaccine efficacy.

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