NAIROBI (Reuters) – When Edith Serem received her COVID-19 vaccination last month at a hospital in Nairobi where she works as a doctor, nurses jokingly warned she might start speaking in a foreign language.
Serem said some colleagues got the AstraZeneca shot after watching her closely for several days to see if she was okay, but others refused, still wary of possible side effects.
Health experts worry that public scepticism about taking the relatively small number of doses African countries have battled to procure could prolong a pandemic that has already killed more than 3.3 million people worldwide.
“I’m not an anti-vaxxer … I have my children vaccinated up to date with everything out there, but this one? I’m not comfortable,” said a doctor in Kenya, who declined to be named as she was not authorised to speak to the media.
“If there is no data on long-term effects then we are all being guinea pigs. What happens in 10 years after this vaccine?”
So-called vaccine hesitancy is a global phenomenon. France and the United States are struggling with it and scepticism is on the rise in some Asian countries such as Japan.