/Covid-19: South Africa in lack of candidates for vaccination
Covid 19: South Africa In Lack Of Candidates For Vaccination

Covid-19: South Africa in lack of candidates for vaccination

Authorities accuse anti-vaccines of leading a disinformation campaign.

Demonstration against Covid-19 vaccinations in front of Groote Schuur Hospital, one of the largest public hospitals, in Cape Town, August 21, 2021 (RODGER BOSCH / AFP)

South Africa, which has struggled to obtain vaccines against the Covid until then too rare and too expensive, before laboriously launching its immunization campaign with much delay, is now facing a worrying rejection of the vaccine by a whole part of its population. To date, only 11% of adults in a population of 58 million are fully immunized. The officially most affected country in Africa is currently vaccinating the over 35s and is opening up to those over 18. South Africa already has more than 2.6 million cases and nearly 78,700 deaths. But despite the still rising curves, fewer than 200,000 people per day presently present themselves for vaccination, below the target of 300,000.

“Apathy”

The government plans to vaccinate 28 million people by the end of the year, or 70% of adults. The country knows “Apathy or fatigue with regard to vaccines”, warned Nomafrench Mbombo, from the Western Cape Province’s health ministry. The government had been sharply criticized for having delayed in the race to acquire vaccines. But it has since managed to obtain tens of millions of doses and South Africa has even become the first country on the continent to produce vaccines locally.

“Sex strike”

Of particular concern is the rejection of the vaccine by men in South Africa, according to a recent study. In the country, 60% of those vaccinated are women, the Minister of Health recently alarmed. To urge men to get vaccinated, South African poet and actress Lebogang Mashile called on South African women to “Sex strike”. “For our good, women must make ‘pumpum’ (sex) conditional on vaccination”, she tweeted. The government, for its part, attempted a targeted SMS campaign asking “All men in South Africa to register” for the vaccine.

Mistrust

According to the journalist specializing in health, Pontsho Pilane, the lack of confidence in the government would also explain the rejection of vaccines. Authorities accuse anti-vaccines of leading a disinformation campaign. According to a July study by the University of Johannesburg, skeptics cite three main concerns: side effects, vaccine effectiveness, and mistrust of the vaccine and / or institutions. In vaccination centers that operate in a dribble fashion, some caregivers have launched calls on social networks to come and get vaccinated. At the same time, several organizations including mosques, farms, mines, pharmacies and even insurance companies have opened vaccination sites to facilitate access to the vaccine.