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Ramaphosa raises concern about conspiracy theories around COVID-19 vaccines

While the country is in the process of procuring inoculations for its citizens as it fights the pandemic anti-vaccine sentiments being are expressed by a number of people including those in higher offices such as political leaders.

President Cyril Ramaphosa addresses the nation on 11 January 2021. Picture: GCIS.

JOHANNESBURG - President Cyril Ramaphosa has on Monday raised concern about the disinformation and conspiracy theories circulating about COVID-19 vaccines.

While the country is in the process of procuring inoculations for its citizens as it fights the pandemic anti-vaccine sentiments being are expressed by a number of people, including those in higher offices such as political leaders.

Last week, African National Congress (ANC) Gauteng secretary Jacob Khawe cautioned against western vaccines while Congress of South African Trade Unions president Zingiswa Losi asked about the type of vaccines the country was seeking to acquire, also warning of potential side-effects.

ALSO READ: ANC speaks out against misinformation peddlers driving SA into state of panic

Ramaphosa said that his government would work with labour, traditional leaders and the religious community to disseminate accurate information on vaccines.

The president has attempted to assure a somewhat sceptical nation that his government would use its full resources and capacity to ensure that vaccines became available.

He said that the campaign, set to be launched with the aid of numerous sectors, would seek to clear up some of the conspiracy theories being spread about both COVID-19 and vaccines.

“Yet vaccines have been used to eradicate diseases such as smallpox and polio. Children get vaccinated routinely against many diseases such as mumps, measles-rubella, and travellers are often vaccinated against diseases like yellow fever.”

In full: Ramaphosa's COVID-19 address 11 January 2021

Meanwhile, in his warnings that the country was still in the midst of the pandemic, the president said that alcohol would remain banned.

He spoke at length about the impact of not having booze freely available during the festive season.

“Health services in several parts of the country reported that the prohibition of alcohol sales had significantly reduced the number of trauma cases seen in our hospitals over the New Year period. It is vital that we continue to protect our health services at this crucial time.”

Ramaphosa said that debates over the reopening of schools were under way and that the country should expect an update on this in the coming days.

WATCH: SA's vaccine strategy: what you need to know

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