Professor Salim Abdool Karim has attempted to bust fake news making the rounds on social media regarding COVID-19 and the vaccine. In an interview with eNCA, he acknowledged that there are some people who are apprehensive about taking the vaccine. He also went on to say that each and every person has the right to either take it or reject it but a problem arises when fake news is being spread on social media, allowing others to be misinformed. 

COVID-19 VACCINE: THREE GROUPS WHO ARE HESITANT 

Karim began the interview by stating that there are no microchips or genetically altering material in the vaccine as has been making the rounds on social media. 

He then stated that there appear to be three groups of people who are generally hesitant about the COVID-19 vaccine: 

  • First group – They just don’t know enough about it, they don’t really understand how it works, they’re not sure if they want to take a vaccine or not, hesitant because of limited knowledge;
  • Second group – Those who are concerned because they have been misinformed and may have read something that did not portray accurate information; and
  • Third group – Those who are “deliberately anti-vaccine” and they are the ones who often end up spreading the misinformation and it’s that group which is quite small that uses social media to promote their message.

“I’m a strong believer that any person who does not want to take a vaccine should not be forced to do so. I think people should be able to make up their own minds,” he said. 

Karim added that it’s everyone’s job to make sure that accurate information about the COVID-19 vaccine is being disbursed. He said only then can members of the public make informed decisions. 

LATEST FROM RAMAPHOSA 

During President Cyril Ramaphosa’s speech on Monday 11 January, he said government remains on course to vaccinate 66% of the population in 2021.

“A successful vaccine will be a game-changer in our fight. Vaccines offer a means to control the coronavirus pandemic. A person who is vaccinated has a far better chance of avoiding infection and death from the virus,” he said. 

He added that 10% of the population, starting with essential workers and vulnerable groups, will receive their vaccine in January 2021. 

“Given the massive demand for vaccines and the vastly greater purchasing power of wealthier countries, we are exploring all avenues to procure vaccines. There are promising engagements, but these are continuing on a daily, constant basis,” he added. 

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Presh JM Reporter

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