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Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Gambians laud government’s response to COVID-19 pandemic but don’t trust it on vaccines, Afrobarometer survey shows

A majority of Gambians approve of the government’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, but few trust the government to ensure that vaccines are safe, a new Afrobarometer study shows.

While vaccination roll-out in the Gambia began in February, only two in 10 citizens say they are likely to try to be vaccinated, while most believe that prayer is more effective than a vaccine in preventing COVID-19 infection.

Survey results show that while most Gambian households received government assistance to help them weather the pandemic, more than half think assistance was not distributed fairly, and an even larger majority think COVID-19 resources were lost to government corruption.

Key findings

?          Eight in 10 Gambians (79%) say their households received government assistance to help mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic (Figure 1).

?          A slim majority (53%) say government assistance was not distributed fairly (Figure 2).

?          Fewer than one in four citizens (23%) say they trust the government “somewhat” or “a lot” to make sure that COVID-19 vaccines are safe. A similar minority (21%) say they are “somewhat” or “very” likely to try to get vaccinated (Figure 3).

?          Strong majorities say the government has managed the pandemic “fairly well” or “very well” (60%) and done a good job of keeping the public informed (75%) (Figure 4).

?          But similar majorities express mistrust of the government’s COVID-19 statistics (75%) and believe that “some” or “a lot” of resources intended for the pandemic response were lost to government corruption.

?          About seven in 10 citizens (69%) believe that prayer is more effective than a vaccine would be in preventing COVID-19 infection, including 52% who think prayer is “much more effective” (Figure 5).

Afrobarometer surveys

Afrobarometer is a pan-African, nonpartisan survey research network that provides reliable data on Africans’ experiences and evaluations of democracy, governance, and quality of life. Seven rounds of surveys were completed in up to 38 countries between 1999 and 2018. Round 8 surveys in 2019/2021 are currently underway. Afrobarometer conducts face-to-face interviews in the language of the respondent’s choice with nationally representative samples.

The Afrobarometer team in the Gambia, led by the Center for Policy, Research and Strategic Studies (CePrass), interviewed 1,200 adult Gambians between 30 January and 23 February 2021. A sample of this size yields country-level results with a margin of error of +/-3 percentage points at a 95% confidence level. A previous Afrobarometer survey was conducted in the Gambia in 2018.

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