News / Own Your Life

Reitumetse Makwea
Digital Intern
1 minute read
25 Oct 2021
8:30 am

Here’s why most people aren’t getting jabs

Reitumetse Makwea

Fake news and misinformation has proved to be a serious challenge in convinving the public to get their much-needed jabs.

Picture for illustration: citizen.co.za/Michel Bega

Covid denialists and anti-vaxxers are constantly turning social media into a cesspool of misinformation and conspiracy theories. This is driving vaccine hesitancy and fear-mongering, experts say.

Wits University Perinatal HIV Research Unit’s Dr Carmen Briner said the government has tried to address the spread of misinformation by bringing in prominent community leaders to communicate how to find accurate data about Covid vaccines.

She said every death that happened after vaccinations should be investigated. This is what the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority and the health department has done.

“I worked first-hand in the vaccine trials that were conducted in South Africa and I have not seen a single death resulting directly from the vaccine,” Briner said.

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“I have worked on the Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson [vaccines] and as far as I know there hasn’t been a single death as a result of the vaccines.

“Anecdotal evidence is not scientific evidence, and does not constitute facts, so hearing things from someone else, who heard it from another person is not scientific evidence.”

Public health journalist Dr Nechama Brodie said fake news has become a real problem, even though there was compelling evidence from around the world that showed Covid vaccines reduced the risk of dying dramatically. 

Former chair of the government’s ministerial advisory committee on Covid, Prof Salim Ab- dool-Karim said the way misinformation was being spread was “very difficult to counter because it’s a small group of people being amplified by others”.

– reitumetsem@citizen.co.za