A study conducted by National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD) has shown that concerns over safety and side effects are among major factors fueling vaccine hesitancy in Nigeria.
The study published in ‘Science Direct, is said to be the first of its kind because “no COVID-19 related study has robustly explored factors associated with vaccine hesitancy while also assessing a willingness to pay for emergent vaccines.”
The study was conducted in Abuja. It used a cross-sectional approach to undertake online and physical data collection with a validated questionnaire.
A total of 1767 valid responses were received. The female participants were in the minority (42.2 per cent). Majority (54.9 per cent) of the study participants were between the ages of 18 and 30 years, and more than half (53.8 per cent) of the participants were educated up to first-degree level.
“Slightly above half (52.9 per cent) of the study participants indicated that they were worried about side effects that may be associated with COVID-19 vaccines, and this may likely prevent them from taking the vaccine. A strong majority (85.1 per cent) of the study participants indicated that the COVID-19 vaccine should be administered at no cost to citizens.
“Only a quarter (26 per cent) of the participants were willing to pay a fee for COVID-19 vaccination. Also, older participants and those that had been previously infected with COVID-19 were more likely to pay for COVID-19 vaccination.”
The study, therefore, insisted that assuring citizens of the safety of vaccines is critical to achieving public health immunisation goals.
It recommends: “Given the accelerated development of these vaccines, concerns expressed in this study are logical and if not properly addressed, could increase hesitancy. A failure to address these concerns could delay or prevent the achievement of herd immunity alongside other possible public health consequences.”