Coronavirus (1425) Lancet Global Health: COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy in Africa (2)

1 January, 2022


I am wondering on which evidence the authors base their assessment that “vaccine hesitancy in LMICs is due to a dearth of knowledge about the fact that vaccines are the most effective public health intervention (…) a history of colonial medical and vaccine research abuse in Africa diminishes trust in current vaccines.” [ ] The 6 EPI vaccines coverage reaches 80% in average in Africa, with levels above 90% in some countries, which contradicts this broad statement. I am also questioning the idea that “fake news, rumour mongering, and misinformation about COVID-19” would be major driver of vaccine refusal. Is there any evidence, any scientific publication evaluating the impact of fake news on the acceptance of COVID-19 vaccination?

Studies have demonstrated that risk perception is the major driver for adherence to COVID-19 prevention measures (Dryhurst S. et al, (2020) Risk perceptions of COVID-19 around the world, Journal of Risk Research, 23:7-8, 994-1006, DOI: 10.1080/13669877.2020.1758193 <>). A socio-anthropological study we conducted in five West Africa countries confirmed this analysis (Seytre B. et al. Une enquête socio-anthropologique à l’appui de la communication sur le Covid-19 en Afrique de l’Ouest <> , *Médecine Tropicale et Santé Internationale*, 26/07/21 and Seytre B. et al. Revisiting COVID-19 communication in Western Africa, a health literacy-based approach to health communication <> », B. Seytre et coll., *American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene*, 19/07/21,

The risk perception of COVID-19 is very low in West Africa countries and, probably, other regions of the continent: elderly and people with chronic diseases often don’t know they are at risk, a large majority of people ignore they can get the coronavirus from a person who has no symptom (therefore, they think they are at risk only if they meet a sick person) and, most important, a significant part of the population thinks that COVID-19 is not present in their country.

The way to improve COVID-19 vaccine acceptance is to increase awareness of COVID-19 risk through an adapted communication on the fact that the disease is present in the African countries, to increase the risk perception.

Bernard Seytre



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HIFA profile: Bernard Seytre is a Consultant at BNSCommunication in France. Professional interests: Health communication and education. Email address: seytre AT