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This is a lay summary of the article published under the DOI: 10.31730/

Published onJun 20, 2023

Kenyans were less likely to vaccinate against Covid-19 because of negative perceptions

Researchers report that negative Covid-19 perceptions lead to low acceptance of the vaccine in Kenya. It is important to understand how people perceive and accept vaccines so that governments can improve education campaigns.

Covid-19 disease was first reported in December 2019, and already by December 2020, the first vaccines were ready to be given out to people. How a community will accept a rapidly-produced vaccine is often affected by how they perceive the disease and the vaccine itself.

In this study, the researchers wanted to know how Kenyans specifically think about the disease and being vaccinated against it.

They did an online survey of adults above 18 years in Kenya, using WhatsApp, emails and Facebook during January and February 2021. 

Researchers asked questions on personal details and on perceptions of Covid-19, and people’s willingness to take a Covid-19 vaccine. The researchers then used statistical tests to assess the relationship between perceptions and willingness to take vaccine.

Their results showed that 68% of participants agreed that Covid-19 was present in Kenya, and 75% were willing to take the vaccine if given to them. 

More females agreed that Covid-19 was real and were willing to be vaccinated compared to men. 

Their results also showed that more employed participants were willing to be vaccinated compared to those unemployed. 

Participants in rural Kenya were more willing to take the vaccine when compared to those in urban areas, even though people in rural areas were not as aware that Covid-19 existed.

Despite this, the researchers also reported that 61% of participants had no confidence in the government or the vaccine.

The researchers said their findings suggest the health ministry needed to build the confidence of the Kenyan population in the vaccine.

They cautioned however that their survey was limited to people with access to smartphones, computers and internet access, hence they got many responses from urban areas. They also said the survey could only be done by people who understood English or had someone to translate for them.

The results of this study will help the government to effectively educate people about Covid-19 and its vaccines. 


Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2019 in China and its spread, it continues to terrorize the Kenyan population with new infections and death cases daily. This study was done to determine if the perception of the disease influenced vaccine acceptance within the Kenyan population. Electronically shared questionnaires were used to conduct this survey in the Kenyan adult population in January and February 2021 due to Covid-19 restrictions, to evaluate the Kenyan populations’ Covid-19 perception and relation to Covid-19 vaccine acceptance rate. One-way ANOVA was performed to check whether the perception of respondents and acceptance of the vaccine differed significantly and correlation was done to evaluate the relationship between the perception and vaccine acceptance. Out of total sum of 659 participants, 451(68%) perceived the existence of Covid-19 in the country; 338 (75%) were willing to take the vaccine if it was made available to them. Noticeable differences between the perception and acceptance rate of the vaccine across different demographic characteristics. Covid-19 perception strongly relates to the acceptance of the vaccine in the Kenyan population]


This summary is a free resource intended to make African research and research that affects Africa, more accessible to non-expert global audiences. It was compiled by ScienceLink's team of professional African science communicators as part of the Masakhane MT: Decolonise Science project. ScienceLink has taken every precaution possible during the writing, editing, and fact-checking process to ensure that this summary is easy to read and understand, while accurately reporting on the facts presented in the original research paper. Note, however, that this summary has not been fact-checked or approved by the authors of the original research paper, so this summary should be used as a secondary resource. Therefore, before using, citing or republishing this summary, please verify the information presented with the original authors of the research paper, or email [email protected] for more information.

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