Misinformation causing vaccine hesitancy in rural areas – KZN health MEC

By Rudolph Nkgadima Time of article published Jun 17, 2021

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KWAZULU-NATAL Health MEC Nomagugu Simelane says vaccine hesitancy and misinformation were hampering the vaccine rollout in rural areas.

Having only vaccinated 40 percent of their targeted elderly population, Simelane admitted that they were struggling to reach those in rural areas.

“When we look at the numbers we find that many of the people who have been vaccinated are from previously advantage groups and as a result we have started with focus interventions in the township and rural areas because we think our elderly citizens are not properly receiving our message or they are being confused by the many theories out there,” she said.

As part of stepping up its vaccination campaign in the province on Tuesday the department launched an influencers roadshow which will include MECs, heads of departments, amakhosi, mayors, celebrities, and traditional. They will visit all 11 districts in the province.

“We realise that the majority of our people, particularly those, who live in townships and rural areas, have not been registered. So we needed to get a buy-in and we needed to get the influencers to assist us to make sure that our 60 and above are able to use some of our facilities and get vaccinated. With this programme, we are trying to get our influencers, those people with a standing in society to come and partner with us so we can get our people to be vaccinated,”said Simelane.

According to the latest stats from the national Health Department, over 2.5 million elderly citizens have registered on the Electronic Vaccination Data System (EVDS). Limpopo was leading the number of registrations for Covid-19 vaccines and about 2 million vaccines have been administered, so far.

Meanwhile, Dr Nicholas Crisp, who is overseeing the EVDS portal says the best registration figures are coming from the rural provinces and from people who we thought would have problems using gadgets and following the English language.

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