Well over half of Nigerian respondents in a survey conducted by NOI Polls are willing to receive vaccine shots for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.
Since it was first detected in China in December 2019, the virus has infected over 92 million people and killed nearly two million across the world.
The transmission of the virus crippled social and economic activities all over the world, putting a strain on billions of lives.
Hopes about ending the pandemic has improved over the past few weeks with the deployment of COVID-19 vaccines in the United States, the United Kingdom, and a few other countries.
A mass deployment of vaccines is expected in 2021, but attempts at a successful vaccination campaign are weighed down by concerns about the vaccines, especially in developing countries like Nigeria.
President Muhammadu Buhari promised in December 2020 that his government will ensure that Nigerians benefit from the vaccines expected to effectively contain the novel disease.
According to a public opinion poll conducted by NOI Polls in December, 61% of respondents expressed willingness to receive the vaccine when it is made readily available in the country.
The survey was conducted through telephone interviews of a random nationwide sample involving 1,000 randomly selected phone-owning Nigerians aged 18 years and above, representing the six geopolitical zones in the country.
An analysis of respondents across geopolitical zones shows that the north east zone at 81% accounted for the region with the largest proportion of Nigerians that are willing to receive the vaccine, while the south south region at 41% had the lowest.
73% of respondents in the north west are also willing to receive the vaccine, 63% in the north central, 54% in the south west, and 46% in the south east.
More Muslims (72%) are also willing to receive the vaccine compared to Christians (52%), according to NOI’s analysis.
Analysis of the gender divide showed that 78% of men are willing to receive the vaccine, while 70% of women are equally willing to receive it.
The top three reasons given by respondents who are willing to take the vaccine are “Because of personal health”, “To protect my life”, and “I can take it after confirming that it has no side effect”.
Of the 39% of respondents unwilling to take the vaccine, the top three reasons are “Government are just using us to make money”, “I won’t be infected, I believe in God”, and “I don’t like the vaccine”.
Despite the willingness of majority of respondents to receive the vaccine, only 36% want it to be made compulsory for all citizens with the top reason being for public safety.
Nigeria hopes to start a mass vaccination campaign at the end of January, with the delivery of 42 million doses of the vaccine expected by the end of the year.
That figure is expected to inoculate less than half of the nation’s estimated population of 200 million.
Since Nigeria’s first COVID-19 case was detected last February, over 102,000 infections have been recorded, with a feared second wave of infections kicking off in December.