Faizel Patel – 27/07/2021
There are concerns that while the COVID-19 vaccine programme has picked up pace, South African could still face a fourth wave of infections in the lead up to the December holidays.
Due to a number of delays related to stock and vaccine hesitancy, government’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout programme is only gaining momentum now.
Government has aimed to vaccinate more than 35 million people by December.
The South African Medical Research Councils (SAMRC) Charles Wiysonge says vaccinations saves lives.
“Beyond COVID-19 vaccinations, we have known vaccination to be the greatest medical achievement of all times. Before COVID-19 vaccination was saving about five million lives every year and now with COVID we know that we are saving a lot of lives.”
Wiysonge says social media is partly responsible for sharing misconceptions about the COVID-19 vaccine.
“Unfortunately a lot of rumours have been spread on social media, lot of conspiracy theories are being spread on social media. Our research shows that this misinformation when it’s spread on social media leads to a drop in vaccination coverage, leading to people believing that vaccines are unsafe and this is because on social media information can be spread very rapidly.”
Wiysonge says there are various degrees of vaccine hesitancy including social practices, age, religion, politics, race and unemployment among others.
Listen to the interview with Charles Wiysonge