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Vaccine hesitancy preventing SA from living beyond pandemic – Pinky Kekana

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Vaccine hesitancy preventing SA from living beyond pandemic – Pinky Kekana

Image of Deputy Minister in the Presidency Pinky Kekana
Deputy Minister in the Presidency Pinky Kekana

26th May 2022

By: Thabi Madiba
Creamer Media Senior Research Assistant and Reporter

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Deputy Minister in the Presidency Pinky Kekana has warned that vaccine hesitancy is preventing the country from living beyond the pandemic, and added that it is also taking focus from the Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan.

She was speaking during a government-hosted webinar, on Thursday, on the research findings on Covid-19 vaccine hesitancy.

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Kekana said global vaccine hesitancy is not new or unique to Covid-19 vaccines and South Africa is no exception. She explained that generational differences, knowledge about vaccines, on where the information was sourced and political trust have emerged as the top three reasons for vaccine hesitancy, specifically in South Africa.

A recent research study in partnership with government found that vaccine hesitancy is at 25%. Kekana explained that while this is down from 28% in the previous year, despite evidence that Covid-19 vaccines are safe, hesitancy is still high.

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She said South Africa is nearing the halfway mark of fully vaccinated adults at 45.43%, and almost half of South African adults having at least one Covid-19 jab.

This is nowhere near government’s hope of fully vaccinating 70% of the country’s population by this time.

The Gauteng Department of Health has reached its target of vaccinating more than 10-million people in the province against Covid-19, followed by KwaZulu-Natal with more than five-million vaccinations.

The survey tested thousands of citizens across the spectrum of demographics, geographic location and sectors. Some of the major reasons emerging from the study showed that technical language and medical jargon caused people to ignore the information but on the other hand people also do not trust some of government’s communication.

Kekana noted that it falls on government to drive the vaccine confidence strategy and work on earning back people’s trust, which many have lost owing to extensive levels of corruption.

 

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