About 82 percent of Ethiopians intend to get the vaccine for the coronavirus pandemic, as the government urged the public to get vaccinated, with only five percent of the population getting the jab, a new survey showed.
The survey, published by the Partnership for Evidence-Based Response to COVID-19 (PERC), a public-private partnership that supports measures to reduce the impact of COVID-19 on AU Member States, was conducted via phone, with approximately 23,000 people participating, across 19 Member States between September 10– October 4, 2021.
With a national sample size of 1200 interviews, the survey showed inadequate supply of vaccines to AU member states, including Ethiopia, citing it as a reason for the low number of vaccinated population. Ethiopia registered a higher rate of willingness for vaccinations compared to many African countries, including Egypt (81 percent) and Cameroon (43 percent).
A research released in May of this year by local researchers, Bewunetu Zewude and Tewodros Habtegiorgis, showed that 46 percent of Ethiopians living in the South Region showed willingness to get the vaccine. However, 37 percent of them displayed concerns over the safety of the vaccine.
Considering the ever-growing reported cases of COVID-19 in Ethiopia, the need for vaccination is growing. With830 new infections reported on average each day, there have been 379,379 infections and 6,977 coronavirus-related deaths reported since the pandemic began. Stressing the need for a wider vaccine outreach, the donated vaccines so far, are not enough to reach the annual plan of vaccinating 20 million people.
“Citizens need to get vaccinated as soon as possible. The last two weeks saw an increase in COVID-19 infection rate from just three percent to 20 percent,” said Lia Tadesse, Minister of Health, in a briefing held this week, adding that people who are already vaccinated need to get a booster to protect themselves from the Omicron variant.
Since March 2021, Ethiopia has been vaccinating its citizens, aiming to reach at least 20 percent of the population by the end of the year. With the year almost coming to an end, the vaccines have only reached five percent of the population as opposed to the planned 20 percent. The government has issued a national vaccine campaign to spread awareness and reach as many people as it can.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO) report, there has been an 83 percent surge in new COVID-19 cases during the first two weeks of December in Africa, driven by the Delta and Omicron variants, which is causing fewer deaths than previous surges but is capable of causing more waves. Updated forecasts warn that vaccine coverage on the continent may not reach 70 percent until August 2024.