Cape Town - The double burden of an imminent Covid-19 fourth wave and 40% of the nation to still get vaccinated was discussed at a webinar hosted by the National Health Department on Tuesday.
Moderator and Vooma Vaccination champ, Dr Fundile Nyathi, said the webinar was also to create awareness around the Vooma Vaccination champs, a campaign calling on ordinary, vaccinated individuals to volunteer to encourage family, friends, colleagues and community members to get vaccinated.
Vooma Vaccination champs aimed to enhance vaccine literacy so that people were better informed about vaccines in general, its benefits and to encourage the uptake of vaccines to achieve the country’s 70% target set out for December 2021.
DG Murray Trust CEO and National Lead Demand Acceleration Vooma vaccination initiative, Dr David Harrison, said there was a “dramatic decline” in people taking the first dose of the vaccine since November 1.
In terms of first dose vaccination, three out of five people over the age of 50 have now been vaccinated, Dr Harrison said.
“We’ve got to get that up to 80% – that’s another 2 million people who have to be vaccinated, let's say, in the next two to three weeks in that age group. If we can do that, we’re going to substantially reduce the mortality and morbidity this year.”
Four out of five deaths due to Covid-19 and 60% of hospitalisations have been in this age bracket, he said.
“Those over 50 who are not yet vaccinated, a lot of them are anxious and unsure. Among the slightly younger age group, 35 to 49-year-olds, we have a very strong religious overlay. Not necessarily anti-vaxxers but ‘God will provide’, ‘Its God’s will’, and so we got to find ways to address that norm and show that God sometimes provides, by providing scientific answers to some of the challenges.”
Youth mobilisation and content development specialist Lebo Motshegoa said reluctance among young people to get vaccinated would have bigger consequences.
“Whilst young people are not dying in numbers, they are actually carriers of the virus that ultimately ends up in their household. What that means is that the breadwinners actually die,” Motshegoa said.