A new report by SBM Intelligence, Nigeria’s geopolitical intelligence platform, shows that 35.9 per cent of Nigerians are unwilling to take the COVID-19 vaccine, while 24.1 percent are yet to decide whether or not to take the vaccine.
According to the report, titled: ‘COVID in Nigeria– The second wave’, the survey was conducted across 36 states of the country and Abuja.
The federal government had announced that it will distribute COVID-19 vaccines across the 36 states of Nigeria, including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), before the end of January 2021.
According to the survey, only 39.9 respondents said they will take a jab of the vaccine.
Across the six geopolitical zones of Nigeria, the north-east is the only region where a majority of respondents said they will take the vaccine. In other zones, most respondents were either unsure or opposed to taking the vaccine.
SBM said the unwillingness and little interest is due to mistrust issues and misconceptions about the COVID-19 vaccine.
“Some respondents held that it (vaccine) is a religious war to contaminate the children of God with evil substances,” the report read.
“Some believe that the vaccines are a tool to depopulate Nigeria, while others expressed concern about the effectiveness ratio and the side-effects that the vaccine might have.
“Some other persons were not completely opposed to the vaccine, but were more concerned with the thoughts of being used as guinea pigs for drug trials.”
Also, 31.1 percent of Nigerians surveyed did not believe that COVID-19 is real and are still unsure if the virus exists; however, a majority (68.8 percent) believe it is is real.
SBM said this scepticism is tied to the belief that there is low death rate and the perception that COVID-19 mainly affects the rich, “a belief supported by cases of high profile infection”.
A majority of respondents at 68.8 per cent believe that COVID-19 is real, while 14.4 per cent are still unsure of the existence of the virus, 16.7 per cent say the virus is not real.
The report also showed that majority of Nigerians (63.3 percent) are against a second lockdown; while 21.6 percent are in support and 15.1 percent are on the fence on this issue.
“The opposition is largely because of the economic and security impacts that accompanied the previous lockdown.”
SBM said if a second lockdown is imposed, the federal government would likely face severe resistance from Nigerians.
Regarding vaccine distribution in Nigeria, SBM said the distribution strategy does not appear to be grounded in any discernible methodology.
It advised the federal government to distribute the vaccine according to states with highest number of COVID-19 cases.
The federal government had announced the release of N10 billion to support local production of COVID-19 vaccine.
Meanwhile, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) recent report shows that Nigeria has 113,305 confirmed COVID-19 cases; 1,464 COVID-19 deaths; and 91,200 persons discharged.