Mabuza: Vaccine hesitancy, misinformation crippling efforts to curb COVID

Deputy President David Mabuza raised his concerns about the slow uptake of vaccinations during an oversight visit in Mogale City on Gauteng’s West Rand on Thursday.

Deputy President David Mabuza visits the Biovac Institute in Midrand on 2 March 2021. Picture: GCIS.

JOHANNESBURG/CAPE TOWN - Deputy President David Mabuza on Thursday said South Africa’s only defence against the relentless COVID-19 pandemic was vaccination, but a combination of vaccine hesitancy and misinformation was crippling the country’s efforts.

Mabuza raised his concerns about the slow uptake of vaccinations during an oversight visit in Mogale City on Gauteng’s West Rand on Thursday.

The West Rand District Municipality has been identified as the lowest performing sub-district, with only 8% of the total population vaccinated.

After a prolonged public absence while he sought medical treatment in Russia, Mabuza made a rare public appearance in Kagiso on Thursday.

He lamented the slow uptake of the vaccinations fuelled by misinformation but was also still optimistic about government’s ambitious targets.

Gauteng, despite having vaccinated 3.2 million residents so far has been identified as one of the provinces falling short of the set targets in order to reach herd immunity.

Mabuza said the challenge now was to reach those who were less eager to get the vaccine.

“People don’t want to step forward and vaccinate, some don’t have reasons. So, it is important that we go to them, this time. So that is why we are here. We will be going to North West, we will be going to Mpumalanga, the Western Cape, because we must reach that target.”

Meanwhile Gauteng Premier David Makhura said the province would be boosting vaccination capacity.

Government aims to fully vaccinate 70% of the adult population by December and with just over three months to go, officials are sitting at just over 15%.

OVERLY CONCERNED

Cabinet was not overly concerned about the rate at which South Africans had been getting vaccinated against COVID-19, it was revealed on Thursday.

Minister in the Presidency Mondli Gungubele while updating media on the outcomes of Wednesday’s regular fortnightly Cabinet meeting, said that as of 31 August, more than 12.5 million people had been vaccinated against the virus.

He said there were expectations that number of people being vaccinated a day would rise.

“We are not very much disturbed by that number, you wanted a better number than that – you will remember the president will have spoken about 300,000 to 400,000. It does seem that since the young people have been allowed to come in, they are taking it with enthusiasm, and of course, the programme to encourage vaccination is ongoing,” he said.

Gungubele added that government would look at the possibility of vaccine passports as one of a number of ways to help contain the pandemic.

Cabinet appealed to everyone to get vaccinated so that people could enjoy freedom of movement again and the economy could get moving.

Cabinet also approved extending the national state of disaster to 15 October as the country continues to get to grips with containing the pandemic.

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