The drivers of COVID-19 vaccination attitudes in a low-income country Assessment and policy implications in Burkina Faso

Despite low numbers of COVID-19 infections, most African countries have implemented very restrictive sanitary measures to protect their health systems since the start of the pandemic. While of crucial importance in preventing a surge of the epidemic, the drastic sanitary measures adopted by most African countries have plunged their economies and pushed a significant part of their populations into poverty due to informal employment and the lack or incompleteness of social safety nets. Large-scale COVID-19 vaccination campaigns can significantly curb the epidemic and allow for a relaxation of sanitary measures that stifle African economies. Then, even if most African countries recorded few COVID-19 cases, studying COVID-19 vaccination intentions in these countries is of critical importance from an economic point of view.

This study investigates the factors associated with COVID-19 vaccination attitudes in Burkina Faso with two main objectives. First, we aim to investigate the direct effects of both trust in institutions and the tendency to adhere to COVID-19 conspiracy beliefs on COVID-19 vaccination intentions. Second, insofar as low trust in institutions can be a breeding ground for the sensitivity to misinformation and the development of conspiracy beliefs, we intent to explore the indirect impact of trust on vaccination attitudes through the tendency to adherence to conspiracy beliefs. Data for a sample of 1000 Burkinabe respondents were collected using face to face interviews in July 2021. Structural equation modeling is used to test the direct and indirect effect of trust institutions on COVID-19 vaccination attitudes. Trust in institutions and COVID-19 conspiracy beliefs respectively have direct positive and direct negative effects on COVID-19 vaccination attitudes. The indirect effect of trust on COVID-19 vaccination attitudes through COVID-19 conspiracy beliefs is also significant and accounts for 35% of the total effect trust institutions on COVID-19 vaccination attitudes. In short term, our results highlight the need to fight the COVID-19 “infodemic” wherever it is possible, including on social media, to prevent a further increase in vaccine hesitancy. Our analysis also points the crucial role of trusted leaders, such as local, traditional, or religious leaders, as communication channels to promote COVID-19 vaccination among the Burkinabe population. In the medium term, a top propriety should be to rebuild trust in politicians, health authorities at national and international level (WHO) and in science in general since trust in these institutions is key in the management of public health crises.

Access to the document : Marlène Guillon, Corresponding author. 


Guillon M., Mathonnat J. (2022) The drivers of COVID-19 vaccination attitudes in a low-income country Assessment and policy implications in Burkina Faso, FERDI Working paper P307, juillet