KAMPALA — The Ministry of Health and Twaweza are coming together to share critical information about Covid-19 vaccinations amidst rising case-numbers and fatalities in Uganda.
Twaweza collected data from citizens in Kampala to understand their knowledge about and actions around the virus. The most recent data were collected from 610 residents in June 2021.
Almost all citizens (96%) are aware that vaccinations for Covid-19 exist and that they are in use in Uganda (93%). And despite lots of mis- and dis-information around vaccinations, 7 out of 10 Kampala residents (68%) say they are willing to be vaccinated. Women, business owners and older Kampala residents are more willing to be vaccinated whereas those who earn their income from agriculture are less willing. Among those who are unwilling, the main issues are around trust: 19% of Kampala residents do not trust any Covid-19 vaccine, 12% say they are not yet proven to be effective and 10% say they are not safe.
Kampala residents also weighed in on ideas to help encourage Ugandans to get vaccinated: 4 out of 10 say the government should do more to raise awareness of the benefits of vaccination (37%), while 2 out of 10 (17%) say the distance to vaccination points need to be reduced and 1 out of 10 (11%) say the country needs to import more vaccines.
Furthermore, there appear to be no strong preferences on which vaccination they want: 1 out of 5 Kampala residents say they would be happy with any of the vaccinations (22%).
When asked to choose whom they most trust to handle vaccine acquisition and distribution, Kampala residents are more likely to name government institutions than any other actor: 36% name the Ministry of Health, 20% name public hospitals, and 18% mention local governments. This is compared to less than 1 out of 10 who mention the church (9%) or private health facilities (6%).
But Kampala residents are divided on whether the government is doing well overall at securing vaccines for citizens: 2 out of 10 (22%) say they are doing (very) well while 3 out of 10 (27%) say they are doing (very) badly. A much larger proportion think the government is doing ok at securing vaccinations (44%).
At the same time, residents of Kampala seem to be more positive about international efforts to ensure poor countries get access to vaccines: 3 out of 10 (34% say they are doing (very) well while 1 out of 10 (13%) say they are doing (very) badly. But most Kampalans are uninformed about the work of the international community in this area (52%).
Violet Alinda, Twaweza Uganda Country Lead and Director of Voice and Participation, said “It is encouraging to see high levels of willingness to be vaccinated among Kampala residents. As we continue to be battered by Covid-19, vaccination appears to be the most effective solution. However, citizens have a right to be concerned – misinformation alongside commercial exploitation of the crisis have come together to create a cocktail of false impressions and genuine safety concerns around the vaccinations.”
Dr. Alfred Driwale, Asst. Commissioner & Program Manager, Uganda National Expanded Program on Immunisations said “The Ugandan Government is working tirelessly to ensure vaccines are available. At the same time, we are redoubling our efforts to limit the spread of false information and to take action against those who seek to take advantage of the crisis presented by Covid-19. We are calling on citizens to pay attention to government-endorsed, scientifically-verified information around vaccines.”