A new Afrobarometer study shows that Liberians lauded the government’s COVID-19 response, but also expresses displeasure about the unfair distribution of relief assistance.

A quarter of citizens say their households lost income because of the pandemic. While most citizens support the lockdown as necessary, most also found it difficult to comply with the restrictions.

The study also shows a less-than-encouraging attitude toward vaccines: Few Liberians trust their government to ensure that COVID-19 vaccines are safe, and only one-third say they are likely to try to get vaccinated.

Most say prayer is more effective than a vaccine in preventing the spread of COVID-19.

“A majority of Liberians approve of the government’s performance in managing the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including necessary lockdowns, a new Afrobarometer survey shows. But most believe that COVID-19 relief was not distributed fairly.

Better-off citizens and urban residents were about twice as likely as the poor and rural residents to benefit from this assistance, and older citizens appear to have been largely overlooked,” the report indicated.

On key findings, the report stated that three in 100 citizens (3%) say they or a member of their household became ill with COVID-19, and a quarter (25%) say they lost income because of the pandemic.

Below are few are additional findings

About eight in 10 Liberians (81%) say they found it “difficult” or “very difficult” to comply with COVID-19 lockdown restrictions.

But a similar majority (83%) “agree” or “strongly agree” that the lockdown was necessary, in spite of the toll it took on the economy and people’s livelihoods.

Seven in 10 (71%) also “somewhat support” or “strongly support” the closure of schools to limit the spread of the coronavirus. But most think the period during which schools were closed was “somewhat too long” (23%) or “much too long” (59%).

Fewer than one in 10 Liberians (9%) say they or their households received government assistance during the pandemic (Figure 2).

Economically well-off citizens (those experiencing no lived poverty) (16%) are twice as likely as relatively poorer citizens (those experiencing low, moderate, or high lived poverty) (7%-9%) to report receiving assistance. Urban residents were twice as likely as rural dwellers to receive relief (12% vs. 6%). And only 1% of those aged over 55 say they received assistance.

About eight in 10 (78%) citizens say the benefits of government programs to support people during the COVID-19 pandemic were not distributed fairly (Figure 3).

Majorities say the government is doing “fairly well” or “very well” in managing the response to the pandemic (64%) and keeping the public informed (80%) (Figure 4).

However, only three in 10 (30%) say they trust government statistics on COVID-19.

And eight in 10 (81%) think that “some” or “a lot” of the resources that were available for combatting the COVID-19 pandemic were lost or stolen due to corruption among government officials.

Only two in 10 Liberians (20%) say they trust the government “somewhat” or “a lot” to ensure that any COVID-19 vaccine is safe before it is used in the country (Figure 5).

Only one-third (34%) say they are likely to try to get vaccinated if a vaccine becomes available.
Almost nine in 10 citizens (86%) say prayer is more effective than a vaccine would be in preventing COVID-19 infection, including 61% who think prayer is “much more effective.”

Two-thirds (66%) of Liberians say the government needs to invest more in preparing to respond to health emergencies like COVID-19, even if it means fewer resources are available for other health services.

Below is the full Report:News release-Liberians on COVID-19 pandemic and response-Afrobarometer-20jan21

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