Format

Send to

Choose Destination
J Relig Health. 2017 Oct;56(5):1683-1691. doi: 10.1007/s10943-017-0428-7.

Qualitative Assessment of Vaccination Hesitancy Among Members of the Apostolic Church of Zimbabwe: A Case Study.

Author information

1
Inter-country Support Team for East and Southern Africa, World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Office for Africa, Harare, Zimbabwe.
2
Global Immunization Division, Center for Global Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA, USA. scn3@cdc.gov.
3
Division of Global Health Protection, Center for Global Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1600 Clifton Rd, NE, Atlanta, GA, 30333, USA. scn3@cdc.gov.
4
Ministry of Health and Child Care, Harare, Zimbabwe.
5
WHO Country Office, Harare, Zimbabwe.
6
Global Immunization Division, Center for Global Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA, USA.
7
Division of Global Health Protection, Center for Global Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1600 Clifton Rd, NE, Atlanta, GA, 30333, USA.

Abstract

Vaccine hesitancy or lack of confidence in vaccines is considered a threat to the success of vaccination programs. The rise and spread of measles outbreaks in southern Africa in 2009-2010 were linked to objections among Apostolic Church members, estimated at about 3.5 million in Zimbabwe as of 2014. To inform planning of interventions for a measles-rubella vaccination campaign, we conducted an assessment of the factors contributing to vaccine hesitancy using data from various stakeholders. Among nine districts in three regions of Zimbabwe, we collected data on religious attitudes toward, and perceptions of, vaccines through focus group discussions with health workers serving Apostolic communities and members of the National Expanded Programme on Immunization; semi-structured interviews with religious leaders; and open-ended questions in structured interviews with Apostolic parents/caregivers. Poor knowledge of vaccines, lack of understanding and appreciation of the effectiveness of vaccinations, religious teachings that emphasize prayers over the use of medicine, lack of privacy in a religiously controlled community, and low levels of education were found to be the main factors contributing to vaccine hesitancy among key community members and leaders. Accepting vaccination in public is a risk of sanctions. Poor knowledge of vaccines is a major factor of hesitancy which is reinforced by religious teachings on the power of prayers as alternatives. Because parents/caregivers perceive vaccines as dangerous for their children and believe they can cause death or disease, members of the Apostolic Church have more confidence in alternative methods such as use of holy water and prayers to treat diseases. Under these circumstances, it is important to debunk the myths about the power of holy water on the one hand and disseminate positive information of the efficacy of vaccines on the other hand in order to reduce hesitancy. Education about vaccines and vaccination in conjunction with government intervention, for example, through the use of social distancing policies can provide a framework for reducing hesitancy and increasing demand for vaccination.

KEYWORDS:

Apostolic community; Vaccination acceptance; Vaccination confidence; Vaccination hesitancy

PMID:
28631171
PMCID:
PMC5711523
[Available on 2018-10-01]
DOI:
10.1007/s10943-017-0428-7
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Springer
Loading ...
Support Center