All around the world vaccine hesitancy is a concern for authorities. People are refusing to be vaccinated for different reasons. Health workers who refuse to be vaccinated are losing jobs in countries where vaccination for frontline workers is mandatory.
Until Nov 13 Ethiopia has received over 12 million doses of AstraZeneca, Sinopharm, Johnson & Johnson, and Pfizer. Around 3.5 million Ethiopians have received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine and close to 2.6 million people have been fully vaccinated. This accounts for less than three percent of the population. At the time more than 60 % of these have yet to be used.
Some of the concerns are exacerbated by o certain misleading facts while the others are baseless mis/disinformation. Concern about the side effects and the safety of the vaccines is the main reason for vaccine hesitancy. Moreover, conspiracy theories claiming the vaccine to be a tool for world control, a microchip and a poison that will kill after a few years are circulating around social media platforms. This is resulting in an unexpected wave of anti-vax groups.
According to a recent report by Addis Zeybe, from those who had access to the vaccine at the time 41.7% are not vaccinated. The finding shows, some of the main reasons for the hesitancy are fear of possible side effects of the vaccine, concern about the safety of the vaccine, dis/misinformation, Religious beliefs, among others.
To encourage and increase the number of vaccinated people the Ethiopian Ministry of Health is urging all adults, aged over 18 to get easy access to the vaccine from any public health institutes. The Addis Ababa health bureau has also launched a campaign to vaccinate the city residents older than 12, from Nov 15 – 24.
HaqCheck is a local multilingual fact-checking project based in Ethiopia, formed inside Addis Zeybe’s newsroom, now Inform Africa’s Counter Disinformation Project – a board-led Civil Society Organization (CSO) – dedicated to verifying media contents from social to the mainstream. HaqCheck works in collaboration with media outlets to monitor media contents in English and four local languages (Amharic, Afaan Oromo, Tigrigna, and Somali).
This report is produced with the support of UNESCO under the #CoronavirusFacts: Addressing the ‘Disinfodemic’ on COVID-19 in conflict-prone Environments that the UNESCO Addis Ababa Office is implementing in Ethiopia with financial support from the European Union (EU). The designations employed and the presentation of material throughout this publication do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of UNESCO or the EU concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city, or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries. The ideas and opinions expressed in this publication are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of UNESCO or The European Union and do not commit these organizations in any way.