by SAVIOUS KWINIKA
JOHANNESBURG – SOUTH Africa has embarked on a widespread media campaign to challenge misconceptions around the use of vaccines to curb the coronavirus (COVID-19).
The Government Communications is leading the exercise to educate the population amid the reports in circulation, President Cyril Ramaphosa disclosed on Monday.
“All of us need to be part of this national effort and not allow the spread of rumours, fear and mistrust,” he said.
His statement on Monday, through his weekly letter, follows apprehension by some members of society around the vaccine.
Conspiracy theories prevail.
“False information and fake news can and does put lives (of people) at risk” Ramaphosa raised concern.
“We all need to work together to build confidence in the vaccine, to demonstrate its effectiveness and its safety – and to emphasise its vital importance in overcoming this deadly disease.”
The president described the rollout of vaccine and education campaign as “a massive task ahead of us, probably far greater than any of us has ever undertaken before.”
It is anticipated South Africa will get its first vaccines in the current quarter of the year.
Its first consignment will be from the Serum Institute in India, ranked the world’s largest vaccine producer.
South Africa has also worked closely with the global COVAX facility and the African Union’s Vaccine Acquisition Task Team.
The first vaccines will be provided to health care workers, who will be targeted in the first phase.
The second phase will include essential workers, teachers, the elderly and those with co-morbidities.
The third phase will include other adults in the population.
Ramaphosa pledged transparency in the rollout.
“We recognise that it is important that the public must be kept abreast of developments on vaccine acquisition at all times.”
With over 1,41 million cases confirmed, including more than 40 800 deaths, South Africa has the worst COVID-19 outbreak in the continent (Africa) and 15th globally.
– CAJ News