Health sciences students call for an end to vaccine misinformation
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Cape Town – Health sciences students exposed to the development of vaccines are calling for an end to misinformation that could lead to mass vaccine hesitancy and ultimately reverse the progress currently being made.
Fourth-year medical student Glen Thatcher has called on the public to keep an open mind about vaccines.
“People who are making or administering the vaccines, we chose to do this because we want to care for others – we want to make a difference.
“You can’t calculate how many lives have been saved by vaccines or how many deaths were prevented and how much money has been saved.
“It’s important to ask questions. But when we spread lies, we’ll move backwards, and we will prolong the time under lockdown.”
He said that much research had gone into the vaccines.
“We need to remember that the Covid-19 vaccines have been tested. Even when they failed, they had to go back to the drawing board to try again.
’’The vaccine won’t eradicate Covid-19 overnight. It’s not an on-and-off switch. We’re not going to get the vaccine, and everything is going to go back to normal.
“We need to be patient. The crux of it is that a vaccine can save your life. It won’t guarantee that you won’t get the virus, but a vaccine can ensure that if you do get it, it will be mild.”
According to the World Health Organisation, vaccination is one of the most cost-effective ways of avoiding disease.
It prevents 2-3 million deaths a year, and a further 1.5 million could be avoided if global coverage of vaccinations improved.
Third-year nursing student Nokubona Ngeyi believes fake news could jeopardise the country’s Covid-19 vaccine roll-out plan.
“Let us not spread information that is not true. We are scaring people with false information and some people are now afraid of taking the vaccine because of what they have heard about it. From my side, I will be taking the vaccine,” she said.
The provincial government has urged the public to be wary of fake news distributed via social media on Covid-19 and vaccines.
This misinformation can be reported via WhatsApp at 067 966 4015 or email [email protected]