Background: In Ghana, as of 30 July 2022, around one-third of the eligible population are considered fully-vaccinated against COVID-19, and efforts are being made to increase coverage. Vaccine hesitancy is defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) as the delay in the acceptance, or blunt refusal of, vaccines. This study assesses vaccine hesitancy and confidence in Nkwanta South, a rural municipal in Oti region, Ghana. Methods: Data collection within Nkwanta South took place in sub-municipalities of Alokpatsa (11,028 population), Brewaniase (14,483), and Tutukpene (15,453). Data was collected by 47 local residents, known as Community-Based Surveillance Volunteers (CBSVs), using Kobo Toolbox forms on electronic devices (tablets). Information collected included numerous demographic variables, including age, gender, relationship status, and religion. Further questions covered reasons for vaccine hesitancy and COVID-19 vaccine status. Descriptive and inferential statistics assessed the association between variables to identify predictors of hesitancy. Findings: Across 1500 respondents, 700 (46.7%) reported having received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose, and 800 (53.3%) reported being unvaccinated against COVID-19. Among unvaccinated respondents, 556 (69.4%) reported willingness to receive the vaccine once available, 190 (23.7%) said they would not be willing to be vaccinated, and 55 (6.9%) said they were unsure. Overall, this represented 30.6% hesitancy within the currently-unvaccinated group. Common reasons for hesitancy included believing that they did not need the vaccine (33.8%), believing the vaccine to be dangerous (30.6%), concerns about side effects (25.3%), and not having enough information (20.1%). Key predictors of hesitancy among our participants included high levels of mistrust, being female, greater years of education, and being Christian. Interpretation: The information gathered here can inform how best to target national and local health promotion strategies. Locally-tailored efforts, that understand local context and social dynamics, must remain a core component of public health activity to achieve a high vaccine uptake.
Available online 13 February 2023