Anti-vaccine protests having negative impact on jab programme - WC Health Dept

The Western Cape Health Department's Dr Saadiq Kariem believes that COVID-19 fatigue, complacency and recent protests by anti-vaxxers and COVID-19 denialists is contributing to the lower than expected numbers of people presenting themselves at vaccine sites.

FILE: Demonstrators hold up banners and placards during a protest against COVID-19 vaccinations in front of Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town on 21 August 2021.Picture: Rodger Bosch/AFP

CAPE TOWN - Recent anti-vax demonstrations may have resulted in waning demand for COVID-19 vaccines.

Just over a week ago, about 600 demonstrators descended on the Sea Point promenade, advocating against the jab.

Last month, a group gathered outside Groote Schuur Hospital, calling it a gas chamber.

The Western Cape is dealing with around 7,800 active cases and the provincial Health Department's Dr Saadiq Kariem said that the figure was declining rapidly.

"With the week-on-week decline in the cases in the province at 43%, we're rapidly exiting the third wave in the Western Cape. At the end of this week, we will have officially exited the third wave."

The province can administer 50,000 vaccine doses a day, but only around 30,000 shots are being administered daily.

Kariem believes that could be due to COVID-19 fatigue, complacency and recent protests by anti-vaxxers and COVID-19 denialists.

"Unfortunately these anti-vax protests are having a negative impact on our vaccination programme and I think it's part of the reason why we have lower than expected numbers of people presenting themselves at sites," he said.

The decline in vaccine uptake has been evident across the country.

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