in: PLoS ONE 17(3), e0264633
In low-income countries, vaccination campaigns are lagging, and evidence on vaccine acceptance, a crucial public health planning input, remains scant. This is the first study that reports willingness to take COVID-19 vaccines and its socio-demographic correlates in Ethiopia, Africa’s second most populous country. The analysis is based on a nationally representative survey data of 2,317 households conducted in the informal economy. Willingness to take the vaccine was high (88%) and significantly associated with COVID-19 cases in the family, trust in government and pro-social behavior. All other predictors such as gender, education, income, health insurance, chronic illness, urban residence did not significantly predict vaccine willingness at the 5% level. Among those willing to take the vaccine, 33% also answered that they would hypothetically pay (an unspecified amount) for it, an answer that is significantly associated with trust in government, health insurance coverage and income. The results highlight both opportunities and challenges. There is little evidence of vaccine hesitancy in Ethiopia among household heads operating in the informal economy. The role played by trust in government and pro-social behavior in motivating this outcome suggests that policy makers need to consider these factors in the planning of COVID-19 vaccine campaigns in order to foster vaccine uptake. At the same time, as the willingness to hypothetically pay for a COVID-19 vaccine seems to be small, fairly-priced vaccines along with financial support are also needed to ensure further uptake of COVID-19 vaccines.