The Space Between - Get vaccinated, it’s the right thing to do
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Johannesburg - My conversations with different people this week were dominated by one vital subject.
I used every opportunity to encourage those who had not received their jab to do so.
It’s the right thing to do.
The coronavirus is ravaging the country and it makes it impossible not to touch on this subject.
It continues to set tongues wagging.
The death toll in South Africa this week surpassed the seventy thousand mark of people who succumbed to Covid-19 related complications since last year. A grim milestone.
President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Sunday that “the coronavirus pandemic is the greatest threat to the lives and health of our people and to the recovery and transformation of our economy”.
And one would have thought that it has become imperative for people to register and jostle to the vaccination sites to get the much-needed jab. I took it for granted that, by now, our people understand that the vaccination programme will salvage us of from the effects of this catastrophic pandemic.
Many have voiced their concerns at the snail’s pace at which our vaccination roll-out.
But sadly, there are South Africans who remain hesitant about getting vaccinated.
The hesitancy and misinformation are, in most instances, based on misleading and conspiracy theories.
Facts provided by health experts about the vaccines have taken a back burner while these theories mislead our people.
Mixed reasons have been given, some of them shallow, implausible, and laughable.
Some have suddenly become medical experts and discredited the vaccines that we have in the country without any basis.
Some conspiracy theories have been advanced that people could lose their lives after being vaccinated.
Medical experts have correctly sort to allay the fears of those who are doubtful that people react differently to vaccines.
Vaccines, they emphasised, is the safe method to thwart the further spread of the virus around the world and save lives.
As more people are vaccinated, families and communities will be able to gradually return to their more normal routine.
Some people are understandably nervous and sceptical but the scepticism and unwarranted criticism is not going to take us anywhere.
The world is going that route and so should we. It would seem ignorance has also entered the fray.
Many seem to be ignorant of the fact that the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (Sahpra) is a critical partner working with the government to ensure that all the vaccines that are being recommended meet all the safety and quality standards.
Thorough tests have been undertaken and intense safety monitoring is being done to ensure their effectiveness in preventing the virus.
Medical experts have also, correctly so, cautioned about the side effects.
In other countries, there have been cases of myocarditis, that is regarded as inflammation of the heart muscle related to some vaccines.
In some instances, reports surfaced about cases of pericarditis – inflammation of the lining outside the heart – and blood clots.
Experts say these cases are rare and differ according to the age groups.
We should have no doubt that it is only the vaccination programme that is going to save us from this merciless pandemic.
At least that is what we should learn from the global experience.
There are practical experiences to demonstrate that.
Sixty million people converged at Wembley Stadium in the UK for the Euro 2020 final because of the vaccination programme that had been expedited. It could be us soon.
Morwane writes in his personal capacity.