COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy among non-refugees and refugees in Kenya

Ryan T. Rego, Anthony K. Ngugi, Antonia Johanna Sophie Delius, Stanley Luchters, Joseph C. Kolars, Furqan B. Irfan, Eileen Weinheimer-Haus, Amina Abubakar, Reena Shah, Ji Zhu, Matthew L. Boulton, Timothy Hofer, Akbar K. Waljee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Factors associated with COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy (which we define as refusal to be vaccinated when asked, resulting in delayed or non- vaccination) are poorly studied in sub-Saharan Africa and among refugees, particularly in Kenya. Using survey data from wave five (March to June 2021) of the Kenya Rapid Response Phone Survey (RRPS), a household survey representative of the population of Kenya, we estimated the self-reported rates and factors associated with vaccine hesitancy among non-refugees and refugees in Kenya. Non-refugee households were recruited through sampling of the 2015/16 Kenya Household Budget Survey and random digit dialing. Refugee households were recruited through random sampling of registered refugees. Binary response questions on misinformation and information were transformed into a scale. We performed a weighted (to be representative of the overall population of Kenya) multivariable logistic regression including interactions for refugee status, with the main outcome being if the respondent self-reported that they would not take the COVID-19 vaccine if available at no cost. We calculated the marginal effects of the various factors in the model. The weighted univariate analysis estimated that 18.0% of non-refugees and 7.0% of refugees surveyed in Kenya would not take the COVID-19 vaccine if offered at no cost. Adjusted, refugee status was associated with a -13.1[95%CI:-17.5,-8.7] percentage point difference (ppd) in vaccine hesitancy. For the both refugees and non-refugees, having education beyond the primary level, having symptoms of COVID-19, avoiding handshakes, and washing hands more often were also associated with a reduction in vaccine hesitancy. Also for both, having used the internet in the past three months was associated with a 8.1[1.4,14.7] ppd increase in vaccine hesitancy; and disagreeing that the government could be trusted in responding to COVID-19 was associated with a 25.9 [14.2,37.5]ppd increase in vaccine hesitancy.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0000917
JournalPLOS Global Public Health
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2022


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