The Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) and its research partners, on Thursday, dismissed rumours that its National Covid-19 Antibody Survey (NCAS) was an attempt to vaccinate respondents and cause harm to them.
The survey, which is supported by the Department of Health, is currently being conducted in all nine provinces, by Epicentre, to estimate what proportion of South Africa’s population may have been infected with Covid-19, or SARS-CoV-2.
“There have been some misperceptions and false information about this survey. One of these is that this is an attempt to vaccinate respondents, and cause harm to them. The research team wishes to unequivocally state that this survey is only aimed at understanding the extent of Covid-19 infections in South Africa. There is no attempt to vaccinate respondents. Participation in the survey is also entirely voluntary after information about the survey is presented to those who are eligible to participate,” the HSRC said in a statement.
Field teams across the country are approaching selected households to interview people over the age of 12 to assess infection history, contact exposure, comorbidities, hygiene practises and social distancing.
At least 10% of respondents from Cape Town, Durban, Johannesburg and Pretoria will be asked for an additional blood sample, taken by a qualified phlebotomist, which will be tested for antibodies.
All data collected from the survey will be analysed and results will be used to understand how Covid-19 spreads in communities.
The council reiterated the importance for South Africans to participate in the survey and assured that all information and blood samples collected were done with strict Covid-19 safety protocols and did not present any danger to participants.
The HSRC said the success of the survey and accuracy of the results would be used to assist government in any further planning and refinement of the national response to the Covid-19 epidemic in the country.
The results or the survey will be publicly released.