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Press Release 3 of 2021: CMS releases the COVID-19 Vaccines Survey results

“The majority of medical scheme members want to get vaccinated, with the Johnson and Johnson vaccine as their preferred choice,” according to a study released by the Council for Medical Schemes (CMS), today.

The CMS conducted an online survey to gauge support for COVID-19 vaccination by members of medical schemes. The results of the month-long study, with over 75 000 participants, will be used to facilitate planning and communication strategies in the rollout of the vaccine program.

According to Michael Willie, General Manager of Policy, Research and Monitoring at the CMS, the survey revealed that 71% of respondents trust the vaccine would prevent them from contracting COVID-19. “This tells us that there is a lack of awareness and information on what the vaccine can and cannot do, as we know that the vaccine does not prevent COVID-19, but reduces the chance of getting severe infection,” said Willie.

The study also assessed the main attributes of the participants who indicated intent not to get vaccinated. For 34% of respondents, the main reason for not getting inoculated was that the vaccines were too new, and they wanted to wait and see how it worked on other people.

They were followed by those who were worried about possible side effects at 21%, and 14% said they did not trust the government to make sure the vaccine was safe and effective. The three attributes accounted for just over two-thirds of all responses.

Accordingly, there was an almost balanced view on the awareness and information about COVID-19 vaccines, with 43% of participants saying that there was adequate awareness and information about COVID-19 vaccines , 41% feeling the opposite and 16% unsure.

On the question of funding, more than half (53%) of participants thought it was appropriate for medical schemes to cross-subsidise non-members for the COVID-19 vaccine. Those who were against cross-subsidisation fared at 27% and those unsure at 20% respectively.

On the preferred vaccination site, the study showed that general practitioners (GPs) and pharmacists were the preferred vaccination sites as these accounted for 50% and 33%, respectively. The 17% balance chose hospitals, clinics, community centres and other types of settings as their preferred vaccination sites.

The study further assessed the potential influence or the effect of the employer in getting inoculated. Fifty eight percent of participants answered that they would accept the COVID-19 vaccine if their employer would recommend it, whilst 20% gave a neutral/no opinion response. Less than ten percent, completely disagreed that they would accept the COVID-19 vaccine if their employer recommended it.

“Targeted communication strategies, improvements in health promotion and reduction in the barriers to COVID-19 vaccination are key to building trust. The findings of this study provide key insights to improving access and highlighting some of the strategies that could be employed in Phase II and III of the rollout plans,” concluded Willie.

A summary of the report can be downloaded here.

The full report can be access here.

Download the Press Release here.

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