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newsSaturday Citizen writes that with SA showing signs of some people being reluctant to vaccinate against Covid, government’s communications strategy appears not to be strong enough to counter the growing wave of massive disinformation on social media.

Against the background of the health department having squandered R150 million in the controversially awarded Digital Vibes Covid communications contract, which led to the resignation of Dr Zweli Mkhize as health minister, Covid communication gaps have become evident. Khanyi Madlala of Zoe PR Communications, said: “There should have been an educational programme to educate society about the vaccine – what it is, responding to questions about efficacy and whether it is safe to take the vaccine.” Chris Vick of nonprofit organisation Covid Comms, which aims to build understanding of Covid, said: “There is a definite problem of vaccine hesitancy, which seems to be misinformed by a misunderstanding or misinformation. What is easier to deal with is hesitancy and what is difficult to deal with is vaccination resistance. Fortunately, the level of vaccination resistance is much smaller than the level of vaccination hesitancy.” On Friday, Health Minister Joe Phaahla revealed that 60% of South African women have been vaccinated compared to 40% of men. Noting that every province had lost momentum with vaccinations, health deputy director-general Nicholas Crisp said: ““There will be a fourth wave, we have no doubt. We don’t know when, we don’t know how severe and we don’t know which variant. But we need to protect ourselves by vaccinating. Men are not being vaccinated at the same rate as women, across all age groups. This means men are going to end up very sick and in hospital.”

  • Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Brian Sokutu on page 4 of Saturday Citizen of 14 August 2021


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