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Take personal responsibility to vaccinate yourself, says experts

A baby being vaccinated. Picture: UNICEF/UN0414892/Naftalin

A baby being vaccinated. Picture: UNICEF/UN0414892/Naftalin

Published Apr 30, 2021


Durban: Friday is the last day commemorating World Immunisation Week, which ran from April 24 to 30, under this year’s theme of ‘Vaccines bring us closer’.

On Thursday Sipho Dlamini, Professor of Medicine and the Division of Infectious Diseases and HIV Medicine at Groote Schuur Hospital, and Paediatrician Dr Ashley Wewege briefed the media on vaccines and vaccination.

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“We’ve just come through and we’re busy in a massive pandemic that took the world by surprise. We cannot afford to allow another disease X to do the same thing in future,” said Wewege.

“As this week has been set aside for vaccination, let us remember one of the key messages is that vaccines are able to bring us all closer together again and build a safer, more fair world environment.”

Wewege said vaccines were not just for children but for everyone.

He said Covid-19 variants were still developing and becoming more infectious.

“I would also argue that with Covid-19, we have seen a great opportunity for a vaccine renaissance,” Wewege said.

He had an issue with herd immunity and Covid-19 saying it would be difficult to achieve herd immunity if children were not vaccinated.

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“I think we need to vaccinate as many adults as we can, but I think it will be difficult to achieve traditional immunity because we’re not doing much about the kids.”

Wewege said one of the biggest issues in the world of vaccination was vaccine hesitancy.

“There is a huge vaccine hesitant population. That’s why any vaccine that comes out, that actually makes it through to registration, is used. We can safely say it’s a very safe and effective vaccine and we can use it with absolute safety,” explained Wewege.

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Dlamini said vaccination was for the protection of individuals, communities and the global community.

“Covid-19 is an example that we all need to be vaccinated.”

He said the benefits of having immunity was for protection, not only for yourself but those around you too.

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“When you vaccinate you stop the spread of infection, you also curb the ability of infection to mutate and develop variants that may be harmful to people,” explained Dlamini.

“There is good data which suggests that vaccines work and have saved millions of lives. It’s estimated that two to three million lives are saved every year through the vaccination programme.”

Dlamini said in most instances herd immunity was misunderstood as some thought that since there was herd immunity, they did not need to be vaccinated or that they were protected.

“The message really is we all have a responsibility for vaccination and we should take personal responsibility to vaccinate ourselves. I think the analogy of the cocoon is something that is important so people can understand what we’re trying to do and who’s being protected,” explained Dlamini.

The Daily News

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