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Why one-third of South Africans say no to Covid-19 vaccine

12 October 2020 7:52 AM

National Immunisation Safety Expert Committee chair Prof Hannelie Meyer looks at survey results and the impact of misinformation.

A recent survey conducted on behalf of the World Economic Forum indicates that almost a third of South Africans surveyed would refuse a Covid-19 vaccination should it become available.

South Africa along with countries such as Russia, Poland, Hungary, and France, shows the least intention of having the vaccine, the survey reveals.

Prof Hannelie Meyer is acting head of the Division of Public Health Pharmacy and Management at Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University and chair of the National Immunisation Safety Expert Committee which advises the National Department of Health on vaccine safety issues.

Meyer talks to Lester Kiewit about research that shows South Africans are not keen on taking a Covid-19 vaccine, and what that may mean for us beating the pandemic.

She outlines the reasons for this position.

There are fears in terms of the side effects of the vaccine as well as the trust in whether the vaccines will be effective or not.

Prof Hannelie Meyer, Chairperson - National Immunisation Safety Expert Committee

One of the safety concerns that people express in general is that they have never been tested...and it could be that they fear this is being rushed.

Prof Hannelie Meyer, Chairperson - National Immunisation Safety Expert Committee

However, Meyer agrees that the science would back up the efficacy of the vaccines.

But unfortunately, the alarming misinformation that was heard first by people actually sticks in their minds, and it is very difficult to dislodge this by sharing the truth with them.

Prof Hannelie Meyer, Chairperson - National Immunisation Safety Expert Committee

The most effective way to tackle this is to prevent the spread of misinformation, she says.

This is why Facebook and other social media platforms are taking action to prevent this misinformation, also known as the 'infodemic'.

Prof Hannelie Meyer, Chairperson - National Immunisation Safety Expert Committee

Meyer says it is likely only a fraction of the many Covid-19 vaccines being developed will be licensed for use.

Listen to the interview below:


12 October 2020 7:52 AM

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