Original Research - Special Collection: Reception of Biblical Discourse in Africa

COVID-19 vaccination hesitancy in South Africa: Biblical discourse

Tshifhiwa S. Netshapapame
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 79, No 4 | a7795 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v79i4.7795 | © 2023 Tshifhiwa S. Netshapapame | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 31 May 2022 | Published: 03 May 2023

About the author(s)

Tshifhiwa S. Netshapapame, Institute of Gender Studies, College of Human Sciences, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa


Churches have always been regarded as a safe haven during calamities. This changed during COVID-19 lockdown when churches were forced to shut down. The COVID-19 pandemic has posed a new normal to the world at large, calling for immediate action from authorities and introducing vaccination as an antidote. However, some religious practitioners as a vehicle of change through the institution of the church have been acting on the contrary because it discourages the uptake of vaccines, leading to vaccine hesitancy. COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy has been observed in the Christian community because Christians use Bible verses as a scapegoat for not getting a jab. There is a chasm that exists between faith and science, and it perpetuates the discourse of vaccine hesitancy.

Contributions: This article applies a qualitative descriptive phenomenological approach and seeks to address the conspiracy theories and the use of Bible verses as discourse on vaccine uptake.


COVID-19; vaccine; anti-vaccine; hesitancy; Christianity; culture; politics; South Africa.


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