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Fake news could jeopardise SA vaccine rollout

The country is expected to receive the first Covid-19 vaccine batches later this month, but uptake remains uncertain.
A staggering 52% of South Africans surveyed said they will not take the Covid-19 vaccine if it is made available to them. Image: Liesa Johannssen-Koppitz, Bloomberg

As South Africa prepares to receive its first batches of the Covid-19 vaccine, scepticism and misinformation regarding the jabs is rife.

During a webinar on debunking myths around the Covid-19 vaccine on Wednesday, University of KwaZulu-Natal head of Virology Dr Nokukhanya Msomi said one of the most common myths is that the vaccine was developed to control the general population through microchip tracking.

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Another commonly-held myth, according to Msomi, is that the vaccine will alter a person’s DNA.

As the country prepares to implement a mass vaccination programme later this month, beginning with healthcare workers, the uptake rate could be jeopardised by the spread of such misinformation.

Read:

Misinformation around the vaccine has been cited by experts as one of the biggest culprits of distrust of vaccines among South Africans.

SA’s chief justice singled out

It also does not help that prominent South Africans have publicly “cast aspersions” on the efficacy of vaccines – such as Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng, who called for any vaccine with “666” to be destroyed.

In a complaint laid with the Judicial Service Commission against Mogoeng on Wednesday, civil society organisation The African Alliance says Mogoeng’s utterances have no basis in science and have the potential to cause “widespread confusion, and fear about the safety of vaccines generally and the Covid-19 vaccine, in particular….”

The organisation says given Mogoeng’s prominent position, his remarks could directly jeopardise the Covid-19 vaccine roll out in South Africa.

Mogoeng’s remarks “may cause people to doubt the safety of the Covid-19 vaccine despite it having an acceptable safety profile” the complaint reads. “In turn, this may make it easier for people to deceive and/or spread false information about the Covid-19 vaccine.”

Sentiment

Despite dealing with the second wave of the pandemic and President Cyril Ramaphosa stating on Monday (January 11) that the country had already recorded 190 000 new infections so far this year, surveys asking people if they would be willing to get a Covid-19 vaccine are returning dispiriting results.

According to data from fintech company CompariSure, a staggering 52% of South Africans surveyed will not take the Covid-19 vaccine if it is made available to them.

CompariSure chief financial officer Matt Kloos says the Covid-19 vaccine has proved to be a “polarising” issue over the last couple of months, as governments across the world begin rolling out their vaccination programmes.

When asked why they were unwilling to receive the vaccine, 34% of respondents cited “side effects” as their main concern. Other reasons for rejecting the jab included “religion” (13%) and “cost/price” (16%), with approximately 40% of those surveyed stating “other” and supplying reasons such as “fear of needles” and “government tracking”.

A survey conducted by technology company M4Jam found that 84% of respondents plan to reject the vaccine. Of 3 000 people surveyed, only 9% believe treatments for the virus have improved since Covid-19 hit the country’s shores in March last year.

Listen: Georgie Midgley, CEO of M4Jam, shares findings from its Covid-19 vaccine survey

Some want to wait and see

When asked if they would take the vaccine when it becomes available in SA, only 32% said yes, while 58% said they would prefer to wait and see whether it works for others and 10% said they would refuse to take it.

Half of the respondents cited lack of trust in the government to ensure the safety of the vaccine and its effectiveness, while 39% said they fear contracting the virus from the vaccine itself.

M4Jam CEO Georgie Midgley says the spread of misinformation regarding the Covid-19 vaccine illustrates the need for an extensive communication campaign.

Health Minister Zweli Mkhize earlier this month said South Africa had made a deal with the Serum Institute of India and will be getting an initial 1.5 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine for its health workers starting this month.

The country is also is talks with other vaccine manufactures in Russia and China to procure vaccines.

In the meantime, a mass public communication campaign regarding the Covid-19 vaccine has been rolled out by the government in a bid to counteract the spread of misinformation.

The Solidarity Fund began rolling out its own public campaign last year to encourage behavioural changes to combat the spread of the deadly virus, including sanitising of hands, wearing masks and avoiding public gatherings.

A Solidarity Fund spokesperson told Moneyweb the fund is “exploring how it can support the government’s efforts in the rollout of a comprehensive vaccine programme for the country, including integrating this messaging into its wide-ranging behavioural change campaign.”

Listen to Dudu Ramela’s interview with Profmed CEO Craig Comrie:

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COMMENTS   50

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The more people that don’t want to take the vaccine the more there is for those that do want to take it.

True CS. But everything written here is based on the assumption that we will actually procure the vaccines. We all know that our government is pretty useless when it comes to achieving constructive results. This is confirmed now again, by the non-committal vague statements being made about vaccine procurement. The chairman of the ministerial advisory committee does not even know the status of our government’s vaccine procurement process!!! The reasons for our government wanting to have a monopoly on Covid-19 vaccines is simply these: 1. If the private sector becomes involved it will leave them in the dust and clearly show their lack of capacity and 2. the capacity will suddenly improve once the individuals involved have found ways to personally benefit financially from the process (which they haven’t yet, and they cannot maximise this benefit if private sector is involved).
The ANC is the jeopardising factor in the vaccine roll-out…

Food for thought.

Could the social media (FB, TW, Google) AI algorithms be to blame? And to blame for not only false information but the polarisation we see and all live in. I say this because they are built to give you what you want to hear or see. So basically they never give you the other side of the argument. As a result we all live in bubbles, or echo chambers listening to those ideas we want to hear.

If they try to do me a Chinese or Russian one –Forget it !!!

This is my position as well, I will take the UK/US approved vaccines as the data for these are available and I have a high percentage of confidence that they have been tested thoroughly.

While I do not have the same confidence regarding the Chinese or Russian vaccines. I do not trust these regimes as I feel they simply want to share in the profits while not caring about the quality.

I could be wrong and would welcome any data on these vaccines that were tested by reputable independent authorities outside of these regimes.

Don’t ridicule Russian ingenuity….after being treated with “SPUTNIK V”, you’ll magically feel like you’re in your own space orbit *lol*

The problem of SPUTNIK V is one’s “re-entry” back to earth…

Chinese vaccine. Cant think of any yet. Maybe they’ll call theirs “The Wuhan Reaper” 😉

The Wuhan Reaper

Not all fake news.

Many just don’t trust the anc idiots. Who realy wants an injection from an NEC member.

Everything this lot touch is a complete mess. Why would this be any different?? They will inject you with old expired stuff or something that has been laying it the sun for a couple of months.

If the positivity rate is above 25% for as long as it has and a bit longer surly heard immunity can not be far off?? Do the calc.

The biggest fake news is that which the ANC tries to put out that they have a good story to tell.

…so true…. Government new take on independent comment is “..we know better than you…so do not question our actions and take the vaccine”

Big Pharma and MSM “…right on..hear hear”

I took the Sinopharm vaccine, both doses, around two months ago. The vaccine is being rolled out in the United Arab Emirates where I live. I had no issues taking the vaccine — no side effects at all from either of the doses – no pain at the injection site, no headaches or fatigue after the injections and no nausea at all. I had no hesitation in taking the vaccine and believe it is the right thing to do, most importantly for my own protection and wellbeing. Believe me, you DO NOT want to catch COVID-19, it is a horrible disease. Fortunately I never caught it, but there are too many people that have suffered from this diseases. Folks, take the vaccine so that we can all get back to normal and life as we used to know can be restored, PLEASE.

@Charlesarnestad,
We live in a very different world compared to those who are in South Africa.

Besides having law and order the leaders of the UAE ensure that they implement and service the residents both foreign and local to the highest possible standard.

Our waiting lines here are 15 to 30 min to get the jab and that has resulted in 1.2million people receiving the vaccine out of 8 million and the government is paying for it. SA will have long waiting lines, with people standing in queues for hours or they will have to Pay for the privilege of going to get it privately administered.

Just as a flame cannot burn itself and a knife cannot cut itself, the majority of South Africans living in South Africa do not understand why they are living in such horrible conditions and why there is continuous deterioration in the quality of their life. The exception would be those who read and comment on MoneyWeb and Kudos to them for doing so.

You don’t actually know what side effects you going to have years down the line do you? The structure of everything is just wrong, it takes years to develop a vaccine yet suddenly they have 4 or more Vaccines available. The deaths VS those that are positive and or the total population are too low to warrant all this media frenzy and now the push to spin

Jab Politicians first !

believe me they will ensure that they are jabbed first !

No not fake news but people like eminent French RNA genetecist Dr Alexandra Henrion Caude that makes it quite clear that this is not a vaccine in the true sense. Medical protocols are not being followed Do people understand that they are part of an experiment. If I understand her correctly every protocls dictate that this is stillnthe experimental phase and conclussion concerning side effects will only be known by 2022

NONE OF THE VACCINES CURRENTLY BEING TOUTED AROUND HAVE BEEN PROVEN TO BE SAFE. NO ONE WHO HAS BEEN VACCINATED HAS SURVIVED FOR MORE THAN A YEAR, SO AT THE MOMENT THEY ARE ALL UNTESTED.
ALL PARLIAMENTARIANS SHOULD BE VACCINATED FIRST, IF HEALTH CARE WORKERS ARE PREPARED TO TAKE THE CHANCE, THEY SHOULD BE GIVEN IT

What are you afraid of big guy?

Have you realised how far technology has come, medical technology? Do you know what Phizer, J&J, etc spend on R&D today compared to 3 years, 5 years, 10 years, etc ago? We already know some of the side effects of the vaccines. One vaccine had side effects on 11 out of 1 million people. If you know a little stats you would know that is a negligible number. Now put a sock to the topic if you won’t research properly before shouting about something on the Internet.

Of course no one who has taken the vaccine has survived more than a year. Vaccines have only been available for a few months so it is not possible for people to have survived for 12 months already. Having taken the vaccine myself two months ago I fully expect to be alive in 10 months’ time.

Yes, there has been scant debate about the facts surrounding the vaccines.
People should be informed about the risk and that they are on their own with any permanent issue that may ensue. The fact that manufacturers have been granted immunity from liability and the position of the government in this regard.
The fact that the vaccines carry no guarantee of any kind should be included in the information package.
Instead there is no such ensuring of awareness which is immoral if not illegal.
People are not farm animals. They must be allowed to make their own INFORMED decisions.

Most of the pro jab voices are political connected. With a little effort,online, other voices, medical experts, are giving their opinion. Mix the two with money making, Gates blaring his message, Conquest of Paradise, this planet, part two, and a little mistrust an be justified.

Well, the vaccine is fake

I have always found the same gullible and weak-minded people believing the most ridiculous stories, often they are also OTP on religion, but in the urban environment they are few and far between. In the rural areas the people will typically follow their traditional leaders who are paid handsomely to promote the party line, same as the struggling media. What purpose is there in wasting money conducting investigations when your only source of income is controlled by the people that need investigting.
Sensible people can question and evaluate. Often the answers that are not being adequately provided by officialdom and their media can be found by your own research and a broader field on enquiry.
Most intelligent people keep their opinions to themselves which adds to a one-sided narrative being pushed up everyones nose. Most often the profit motive is glatingly obvious but never mentioned.

The world is changing and people are slow to adapt.

We think we are moving forward, but people are seriously gullible.

There is so much information out there, opinions, algorithms , marketing , agendas. What can you believe ? Who decided what you believe , you or someone else?

I am not one for this hectic conspiracy theories , I am saying just in the normal course of life , people are getting heavily influenced in many ways.

So the person with a reasonably high IQ and the ability to apply logic and reason, will just do better and better and the rest will fall further and further behind.

The point is, always do research and look at both sides of an argument before drawing conclusions or taking a particular path.

“So the person with a reasonably high IQ and the ability to apply logic and reason, will just do better and better and the rest will fall further and further behind.” SOUNDS EXACTLY LIKE THE VOTER PROFILE OF RSA ?

Yes Chris Stoffel, but unless a majority of population are vaccinated the disease will continue to disrupt our lives – herd immunity.

However, it has been clearly stated that lives will continue to be disrupted despite vaccination. Vaccinated people will still have to wear masks, do social distancing, sanitise etc. etc. because ‘there are no guarantees that vaccines will be effective’. This while the manufacturers tout efficiency rates of 70 to 95%. All very confusing. I’m not surprised that people are skeptical.

Modern medical science has saved my life countless times. Tetanus injections, antibiotics and various medicines helped me to recover from life-threatening situations. Polio, measles, hepatitis B, diphtheria and tuberculosis vaccines protected me against these diseases. Some of the best local GPs, who count among the best in the world, has treated me many times. I have been operated on by various specialists over the years. I am in excellent health and I move freely and do strenuous exercise without problems.

Medical science kept me alive up to now. Scientific experiments gave me the appropriate information to enable me to follow a healthy lifestyle and prevent metabolic syndrome. I trust the process and I will use anything the system offers as a solution.

After all the positive contributions that medical science has made to my life over all these years, I will not begin to doubt it now.

Fully concur sensei.
I trust Western Medicines and procedures but I have serious reservations on the Russian and Chinese ones.

The thing is, for all of us, it’s not just about you yourself. It’s about everybody around you and everyone you get in contact with. The one who don’t protect him-/herself against Covid-19 creates a huge risk for other people and becomes the gun that fires the deadly bullet.

In my mind one have two options here – you either take Ivermectin (the human product in pill form) or you take the vaccine. Ivermectin can be made available very fast, in more than enough quantities, is the cheapest roll-out alternative in the world, is a Nobel Prize Winner and the multi-method distribution and take-up process will be the widest, easiest, fastest and effective way to save Africa. Just stick to the prescribed correct dosage and usage thereof.

@France…oh, so now you will be making sovereign right decisions on how other people govern their bodies.

Tell me France, if the vaccine is so effective, and you have so much blind faith in it, surely you are safe and immunized against those who decide against the vaccine ?

I agree. According to the available data presented to the US congress recently, ivermectin as prophylactic therapy against covid may even be more effective than the vaccine. With this scientific data, we do not have to anguish over the availability of an expensive vaccine any longer. Simply use ivermectin anyway. We have nothing to lose and economic survival and emancipation from government intervention to win. Ivermectin is a no-brainer now.

I only had access to my stock of veterinary medicine. I used 2ml of injectable ivermectin (1% ivermectin/dose) as a topical application on my arms and legs. For all practical purposes, I have been vaccinated and I cannot transmit covid to anybody. Please lift my curfew, alcohol, beach and surfing ban now!

@Sensei:

Yes, modern medicine on the trauma front is about the best you will get.

However, on the holistic front, it has the poorest track record of all time.

And one only has to delve a little deeper into the very murky history of vaccines and the immeasurable malpractice suits that have been settled out of court to realize that Big Pharma is driven only by profit, at the expense of everything else.

And we haven’t even touched on their cozy in – bed relationships with governments around the world, which opens up a whole new can of worms.

For the rest of us that possess the capacity of critical thinking and able to deduce that we have a highly developed self defence mechanism called the IMMUNE system, which strangely enough sufficed for many millennia and ensured the survival and amazing expansion of the human race no problem, but is now suddenly ‘insufficient’ for what is in effect as admitted a ‘flu variant’, is nothing short of highly suspicious !

Many will be giving the vaccine a pass, and for good reason too.

when you read the replies to this article (bar one or two) you suddenly realise the level of intellect in South Africa. There is honestly no hope for this country.

That’s the most sensible comment here: it’s no wonder RSA is in the state it is as judging from voting patterns and most comments ,we are surrounded by idiots !

And these are the ones that can read and Write !!

“The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.” – Winston Churchill

so you just want “us” to shut up….no hope for this country because of “us” or because of a corrupt African government?

Do you watch global news? Half of America blindly accepts Trump’s lies as gospel. And those are the “educated” ones, that’s even more scary.

I think a lot of the sceptics will change their mind as soon as the vaccine is available to the common man. Judging from this comment section people are still viewing the vaccine as an elitist, political, overseas thing.

The biggest money making scheme in history. To start you have to scare the population which gets politicians to implement restrictions. Then, as a representative of pharmaceutical companies you convince these politicians that you can develop a wonder medicine which will eradicate this decease and above all expectations you have now created the best moneymaking scheme in history. The Chinese however were more concerned about the Hong Kong demonstrations and had the lockdown enforced to get people of the streets so they could implement their new laws something the rest of the worlds politicians completely misread.

I am a member of
Discovery Health and hopefully they will advise their members on this. I fully intend to have the vaccination the sooner the better. every pharmaceutical company in the world has probably devoted all their research resources to developing a vaccine, hence the speed. I accept that their motives my be financial rather than altruistic. The only problem here will be our bungling government and their bureaucratic protocols. Let those that can pay for the vaccination do so I am even prepared to pay extra to help provide pro Bono vaccination to some one else. Swift decisions are necessary I say let the private medical aids have a say, for them it’s cheaper to vaccinate than to have members in ICU for weeks.

The ANC are sure to mess this up.

Yes.

Lets say they manage to immunize the same amount of people that they manage to test at present ON A GOOD DAY. Say 70 000 people.

Lets say round figure the population (including foreigners) is 70 million it will take 1000 days x 2 for a second dose = 2000 days / 365 = Will take about 5.5 years if they keep at it every day and don’t have any hiccup’s or slow weekends etc.

Now imagine trying to do it in one year??

So with everything they ordered now what is the shelf life?

Don’t bring actual maths into this!

Will efficacy rates between 70-95% effective & no guarantee that you won’t catch Covid a month later. Let people choose for themselves.
The repeat of a hard lockdown throughout most of the world is a mighty big incentive to get vaccinated me thinks…Is that what (your words here) is counting on…????

Go Read “The deals that Made the World” by Jacques Peretti, Then you will understand the pharmacy companies motives and tactics.
The amount they spend on R & D is no different to other respectable companies.

What happens when ridiculous theories are lumped with credible theories, the credible theories loses its legitimacy. This is exactly what happens with vaccines at the moment. All concerns are then labelled as “conspiracies”.

End of comments.

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