Premier Alan Winde said that, for him, the best influencers so far have been our front-line health-care workers. File Picture: Nokuthula Mbatha African News Agency (ANA)
Premier Alan Winde said that, for him, the best influencers so far have been our front-line health-care workers. File Picture: Nokuthula Mbatha African News Agency (ANA)

SA tweeps laugh through the pain of Covid-19 'vaccine influencer' drama

By Theolin Tembo Time of article published May 13, 2021

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Cape Town - South Africans have been making their feelings very clear on the whole “vaccine influencer” drama that erupted, after TV presenter and poet Lebo Mashile posted this week about getting the Covid-19 vaccine.

South Africa is still rolling out its first phase of the Covid-19 vaccine programme, where only health-care workers are eligible for a vaccination.

At the start of the week, the Sisonke vaccine trial, however, expanded the parameters for those who could get vaccinated but, before this news spread, many were asking Mashile how she was able to “jump” the queue.

The poet explained that she qualified because of her work with the African Alliance.

“For those asking how I qualified: I have been working with African Alliance on how to use social media to motivate people to get vaccinated. African Alliance has been working tirelessly for the past year, to ensure that marginalised people in SA get access to vaccines,“ said Mashile.

While Mashile may have qualified for the vaccine as part of the new parameters, people were unimpressed by what have now been dubbed “vaccine influencers”.

Many people then weighed in and reacted to the news that “vaccine influencers” have become another part of the vaccine roll-out journey.

Western Cape Premier Alan Winde said he doesn’t believe “influencers” should jump the queue and that, for him, the best influencers so far have been our front-line health-care workers.

“It’s been really nice talking to them, and seeing so many of them – so happy and proud – that they have had their vaccination.

“From Monday, I think the next influencers will be people who are receiving the vaccines will be the category 60 years and older.

“First of all I don’t believe we should be attracting or getting people or ’influencers’ to push the queue beyond the boundaries that are set right now. However, those who are in the band and are able to influence, we will want to see them help us along on this journey.”

Additionally, Twitter user @TheCapeTownGuy also caused a storm on Wednesday, with his now-deleted vaccine post, by claiming that the Johnson & Johnson doses were going to expire.

“I got the Vaccine. The doses were going to expire and I was able to register for it. Syringe arm is a bit sore but overall I feel fine,“ he posted.

When asked how he was able to get vaccinated as a non-health-care worker, @TheCapeTownGuy replied: ‘’Fair. A message went around saying that they are vaccinating, as the vaccines are expiring. And it was open to anyone it seems.’’

There was an uproar over the post, as he is a non-health-care worker who has been vaccinated. Western Cape head of Health Dr Keith Cloete explained that conflated messaging has been identified as the probable cause for the confusion, in the expansion of the parameters of the Sisonke vaccine trial.

Cape Argus

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