JOHANNESBURG – In the coming weeks those individuals who have been vaccinated against Covid-19 will seemingly receive priority regarding the attendance of sporting, arts, culture and recreational events, the government announced on Wednesday.
The strategy, which forms a part of government’s “It is in your hands” vaccination social mobilisation campaign – officially launched at FNB Stadium on Wednesday – will endeavour in the coming days, weeks and months to convince those who remain unvaccinated to get the jab, and help reach herd immunity of 70% amongst the country’s populace by the end of the year.
As such, the campaign will dangle tasty carrots in-front of the public as the government tries to persuade all-and-sundry with a subtle stick to get vaccinated.
“Over the next few weeks,” the statement from the Minister of Sports, Art and Culture Nathi Mthethwa read, “you (members of the public) will be exposed to creative ways of getting the vaccination message across, which will be premised on examples like: free entry tickets for the vaccinated at sport and entertainment events; games and performances prioritising the vaccinated; (and) taking the vaccine to the people.”
Neither the statement nor the launch event revealed the timeframe for the return to our stadiums, theatres, arts and cultural festivals or concerts.
It has been over a year since fans and supporters where allowed to participate at venues across the nation due to the coronavirus pandemic, in stark contrast to the developments in Europe and other parts of the world where a general relaxing of lockdown protocols has seen members of the public returning to their most vaunted sporting stadiums and most celebrated entertainment arenas.
The “It is in your hands” campaign, therefore, hopes to rectify the situation by impressing the importance of getting any of the vaccines currently approved and available in South Africa as a means to return patrons to venues and in doing so, help reinvigorate the economy.
“The greater the population of the ‘vaccinated’ the sooner the economy can be reopened and in the sport, arts and culture community, the quicker we can get back to watching our sports stars and creatives at the various venues,” the statement read.
“The one quick and trusted ingredient to attain that status is to maximise the population of the ‘vaccinated’. Government alone cannot raise the required numbers of the ‘vaccinated’ needed to reach what is known as herd-immunity.
“The ’It is in your hands’ campaign, which we are launching today, is therefore intended to kickstart the active mobilisation of community members to ‘take the jab’ in ever increasing numbers. The medical experts have already eloquently extolled the virtues of vaccinating more and more people on a sustained basis.”
As explained by the statement, the It is in your hands campaign will use all available media platforms to communicate the strategy going forward, and will rely heavily on the example set by popular sports and creative stars to communicate the positive impact vaccination will have on the country.
Currently, close to 12% of the population in the country has been vaccinated – around 6.75 million people – but, as revealed at the launch event on Wednesday, that number will need to be around the 40m mark to ensure herd immunity.