This review syntheses community perceptions of COVID-19 vaccines in South Africa to inform RCCE strategies and policies and provides examples of successful practice. Understanding how individuals and population groups perceive and make sense of COVID-19 vaccines is critical to inform the design and implementation of risk communication and community engagement (RCCE) strategies, and guide interventions aiming to promote and sustain acceptance of COVID-19 vaccines, while encouraging compliance with other COVID-19 preventive measures.
This review offers a number of conclusions, including:
- Vaccine hesitancy in South Africa is often intertwined with distrust in institutions, rooted in a history of inequality. An effective pandemic response to COVID-19 requires tackling this distrust.
- There is a need for more diverse data from a range of communities.
- Effective response to vaccine hesitancy will require information about vaccines that is accessible, clear and encourages two-way communication.
- It is important to understand and address the specific concerns of various sociodemographic groups.
- Tailored strategies may be needed to address the different needs and perceptions about and among migrants and refugees.