Vaccine Hesitancy Is Still An Issue For The Health Department

Even though the country has a good supply of the COVID-19 vaccine, the Department of Health is still struggling with the issue of vaccine hesitancy among the citizens of South Africa. Despite the statics which shows that majority of infected patients in hospitals are those who are not vaccinated, vaccine hesitancy is still a problem.

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Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo, the Deputy Health Minister, stated that the COVID-19 vaccine is not mandatory and the decision about whether to be vaccinated lies with the individual.

Vaccine security, vaccine progress, will the vaccines make a difference and demand generation were on the agenda for the meeting with the officials.

With regards to vaccine security, the country is on a good path and more than 14 million doses have been administered in South Africa.

Nationally 17% of the adult population has been vaccinated and thanks to health workers in the rural areas those who indicated that they would like to be vaccinated have received their vaccinations.

Despite other countries vaccinating those under 18, those in South Africa will have to wait a while before it will be open to all.

Dr Nicholas Crisp, the Acting Director of General Health, announced that “those countries that are vaccinating under 18 have already reached a far higher percentage of vaccination coverage than we have”.

“They are months ahead of us in terms of their programs, so I have no doubt that at some point in the future we will have a vaccination program that is able to roll out to minors,” said Dr Crisp.

In terms of adverse effects, of the 60 post-vaccine deaths, 30 have been investigated. According to the investigations, none of them were found to be related to the COVID-19 vaccination.

According to Dr Crisp, South Africa continues to monitor adverse event committees around the world, to look out for any negative reports. 

Crisp stated that although the government continues to assure the public that getting vaccinated will be beneficial to their health, vaccine hesitancy remains a concern.

The government intends to increase and improve their communication strategies by providing more information.

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