Determining Individual Motivations for COVID-19 Vaccine Uptake Among Luo People in Rural Western Kenya: A Grounded Theory Study
Vaccination is a central element of the global effort to end the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic has caused thousands of deaths across Kenya and led to widespread social and economic disruption over the last three years. Early surveys in Kenya of COVID-19 vaccine uptake rates and individual motivations for vaccination neglected low-income rural communities with limited educational attainment in favor of urban populations (Marzo et al., 2022). This study examines the motivating factors that lead Luo people in rural western Kenya to accept or refuse COVID-19 vaccines. Additionally, it investigates the group’s attitudes towards COVID-19 vaccination. Semi-structured patient interviews were conducted at a rural clinic on the Nyakach Plateau in southern Kisumu County in May 2022. A grounded theory methodology was selected to maximize adaptability towards individual perspectives. Rather than impose a strict framework on subjects by predicting potential responses, the reported experiences of the individuals guided further questioning. Factors motivating respondents most strongly to receive vaccines included government regulations and messaging, along with desires to receive personal protection against infection and to prevent the spread of COVID. By retrospectively evaluating motivations for vaccination, healthcare professionals and public health authorities can adjust their messaging strategies to increase vaccine uptake and confidence. While the generalizability of a single-facility study is limited, utility to the local community is increased by eliminating extraneous influences. Specific limitations included interview brevity and reliance on Dholuo-English translation.