It is possible to overcome vaccine hesitancy among young people in SA: Unicef

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The United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) in South Africa says it is possible to overcome vaccine hesitancy, particularly among young people.

The ONE Campaign, Unicef and the African Union last month launched a new TikTok campaign, to counter misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines on social media. The initiative – under the hashtag #MythOrVax – aims to dispel myths and correct inaccurate information about COVID-19.

It also seeks to address ongoing fears and concerns and raising awareness about the importance of vaccinations.

Currently, government is vaccinating people aged 18 years and older.

According to a report by Unicef, 55% of young people say they will get the COVID-19 vaccine. The report also found that 37% of young people believe TV and radio are the most trusted sources for accurate information about COVID-19 vaccines, followed by health workers and social media.

Unicef’s Christine Muhigana unpacks the report: 

Unicef representative in South Africa, Christine Muhigana says social media is important for communicating the importance of getting the vaccine to young people.

“We need to do more campaigns with the right people, with media, with health workers, with the AU, TikTok and One Campaign. We launched Myth or Facts which includes using quizzes and we engage in live sessions with people so they can interact with celebrities and health experts through media to make sure that the dialogue around the safety and efficacy and how to deal with side effects is discussed in a good manner,” says Muhigana.

Lack of information

Psychologists say vaccine hesitancy stems from several factors including a lack of information.

Psychologist Lerato Motsalane-Wana says more needs to be done to address vaccine hesitancy in the country.

COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy remains a headache in Gauteng:

South Africa has recorded 8 411  new COVID-19 infections taking total cases to 2814 014.

Meanwhile, a further 182 COVID-19-related deaths have also been reported, taking the country’s total fatalities since the pandemic outbreak to 83 343.

Latest SA stats: