COVID-19 Vaccine Perceptions Among Ebola-Affected Communities in North Kivu, Democratic Republic of the Congo

The COVID-19 vaccination is considered the most effective way to reduce morbidity and mortality from COVID-19. However, the DRC has one of the lowest COVID-19 vaccination rates in the world. In March 2021, International Medical Corps, in collaboration with the CDC and Brown University, conducted a cross-sectional survey to examine the perceptions toward COVID-19 vaccines and identify the factors associated with vaccine intention among 631 community members (CMs) and 438 HCWs affected by the 2018–2020 EVD outbreak in North Kivu. The survey found that 81.7% of HCWs and 53.6% of CMs felt at risk of contracting COVID-19; however, vaccine intention was low. In both groups, the perceived risk of contracting COVID-19, general vaccine confidence and male sex were associated with the intention to get vaccinated, with security concerns preventing vaccine access being negatively associated. Among CMs, getting the Ebola vaccine was associated with the intention to get vaccinated. Among HCWs, concerns about new vaccines’ safety and side effects, religion’s influence on health, security concerns and governmental distrust were negatively associated with vaccine perceptions. These findings suggest the need for enhanced community engagement and communication that address concerns to help improve vaccine perceptions and vaccination decisions, which could facilitate the success of future vaccine campaigns in North Kivu and similar settings.

Start Date:2020

End Date:2023

Partners: Brown University
U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Donors: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Publications: Vaccines