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Narissa Subramoney
Copy rewriter
2 minute read
7 Nov 2021
3:43 pm

Less than 40% of SA men are vaccinated

Narissa Subramoney

The Community Constituency Front for Covid-19 is launching a new campaign, which aims to put men at the centre of vaccine efforts.

Less than 40% of SA men are vaccinated. Picture: Michel Bega

South African men currently make up less than 40% of 12,7 million South Africans who have been fully vaccinated.

The Community Constituency Front (CCF) for Covid-19 is now launching a new campaign, #vacciNATION4MEN, which aims to put men firmly at the centre of efforts to get more people vaccinated.

The CCF, led by Mabalane Mfundisi, has in recent weeks held a series of discussions and listening sessions with men from various communities to understand the reasons behind their hesitance to be vaccinated. 

At the heart of men’s hesitancy appears to be a “sophisticated disinformation campaign”, which is louder than credible information on Covid-19 and associated vaccines.

“We must address issues facing men which include fear of erectile dysfunction, infertility and beliefs that traditional medicines are more trusted than vaccines, its side effects and the ingredients of the vaccine,” said Mfundisi.

The weekend’s roundtable discussion was attended by a broad range of organisations that included the South African Youth Council, South African Football Players Union, Contralesa, National Union of Mine Workers (NUM), Qina Mshayeli from the Taxi Industry and the National Unitary Professional Association for African Traditional Health Practitioners of South Africa (NUPAATHPSA) and RIIME Men’s Forum.

Prof. Mbulelo Dyasi of the RIIME Men’s Forum said that religious bodies are aware of misinformation about vaccines within faith groups.

The CCF has since made taxi industry representatives a key pillar of their strategy to demystify and talk about concerns of people who are hesitant about taking the vaccine.

Clement Doncabe of Qina Mshayeli, representing the taxi association, said: “We want to be part of the solution because COVID-19 affects us all.”

“If people are not vaccinated, and they travel on our taxis, we could become infected and also infect our families.”

Mfundisi believes successful vaccination rates will need traditional tried and tested mobilisation tactics like loud hailers.

“We want to be in communities saying to people, ‘there is a pop-up site at the community centre, roll up your sleeves and vaccinate today’.”

The campaign will be translated into all 11 official languages to ensure men have the information they need to help them decide about getting the jab.

Traditional leaders have also pledged to make sure that all boys who will attend initiation schools will be vaccinated before they begin their rite of passage to manhood.

Partner at Genesis Health and Advisor to The Solidarity Fund, Dr Saul Johnson, said no effort was being spared to bring vaccines to the country’s people.

“Vaccine pop-up sites are being set up much closer to people, making it easy for them to vaccinate without taking too much time, or having to be absent from work, or to spend a lot of money on transportation,” said Johnson.

South Africa needs to vaccinate 27 million to attain population immunity.

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