COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy among the adult population in Ghana: evidence from a pre-vaccination rollout survey

Robert Kaba Alhassan (Lead / Corresponding author), Matilda Aberese-Ako, Phidelia Theresa Doegah, Mustapha Immurana, Maxwel Ayindenaba Dalaba, Alfred Kwesi Manyeh, Desmond Klu, Evelyn Acquah, Evelyn Korkor Ansah, Margaret Gyapong

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Background: Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has already claimed over four million lives globally and over 800 deaths in Ghana. The COVID-19 vaccine is a key intervention towards containing the pandemic. Over three billion doses of the vaccine have already been administered globally and over 800,000 doses administered in Ghana, representing less than 5% vaccination coverage. Fear, uncertainty, conspiracy theories and safety concerns remain important threats to, a successful rollout of the vaccine if not managed well.

Objective: Ascertain the predictors of citizens’ probability of participating in a COVID-19 vaccine trial and subsequently accept the vaccine when given the opportunity.

Methodology: The study was an online nation-wide survey among community members (n = 1556) from 18th September to 23rd October, 2020 in the 16 regions in Ghana. Binary probit regression analysis with marginal effect estimations was employed to ascertain the predictors of community members’ willingness to participate in a COVID-19 vaccine trial and uptake the vaccine.

Results: Approximately 60% of respondents said they will not participate in a COVID-19 vaccine trial; 65% will take the vaccine, while 69% will recommend it to others. Willingness to voluntarily participate in COVID-19 vaccine trial, uptake the vaccine and advise others to do same was higher among adults aged 18–48 years, the unmarried and males (p < 0.05). Significant predictors of unwillingness to participate in the COVID-19 vaccine trial and uptake of the vaccine are: married persons, females, Muslims, older persons, residents of less urbanised regions and persons with lower or no formal education (p < 0.05). Predominant reasons cited for unwillingness to participate in a COVID-19 vaccine trial and take the vaccine included fear, safety concerns, lack of trust in state institutions, uncertainty, political connotations, spiritual and religious beliefs.

Conclusion: The probability of accepting COVID-19 vaccine among the adult population in Ghana is high but the country should not get complacent because fear, safety and mistrust are important concerns that have the potential to entrench vaccine hesitancy. COVID-19 vaccine rollout campaigns should be targeted and cognisant of the key predictors of citizens’ perceptions of the vaccine. These lessons when considered will promote Ghana’s efforts towards vaccinating at least 20 million people to attain herd immunity.
Original languageEnglish
Article number96
Number of pages13
JournalTropical Medicine and Health
Publication statusPublished - 16 Dec 2021


  • Coronavirus disease 2019
  • Vaccine
  • Immunization
  • COVID-19
  • Trial
  • Willingness
  • Uptake
  • Ghana


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