Seven out of ten South Africans have little or no trust in government’s ability to ensure that COVID-19 vaccines are safe.

This is the finding of the latest “Afrobarometer” survey which was conducted by the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation.

According to the survey, close to half of the participants believe prayer is more effective than a vaccine.

As South Africa continues to battle the third wave of infections, health experts are calling on citizens to vaccinate, saying it is the only effective way of fighting the coronavirus pandemic.

Currently, over seven million South Africans have taken the vaccine.

Mikhail Moosa is the spokesperson for the institute’s spokesperson says, “So this is part of the Afrobarometre survey which was conducted between May and June of this year. So it was still very early on in the vaccine process and it is a nationally representative survey of 1 600 adult South Africans in all 9 provinces,” Moosa says.

“So we tried to get a fairly good idea of what the entire country is thinking. What we find is that a lot of people have very little trust in the government to ensure the safety of the vaccine. I think the important thing about this study is that the peoples’ trust in the safety of the vaccine is mediated by their trust in the government,” adds Moosa.

Addressing drivers of COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy with Dr Rajesh Patel:

Come clean on COVID-19 vaccine side effects

Meanwhile, the Congress of the People (COPE) says the only way to overcome vaccine hesitancy is for government and medical experts can come clean about the safety and side effects of vaccines.

COPE spokesperson Dennis Bloem says an awareness campaign is necessary to allay the fears of those who are refusing to be vaccinated.

“COPE is very much concerned about the growing reluctance of some in the community not to be vaccinated. We think that government must put in extra effort to address the doubt and mixed  messages in society.”

“Medical experts must embark on a vaccine awareness campaign to answer all questions and concerns from people. The decision to be vaccinated must be a person’s personal decision and nobody must be forced. These mixed messages are putting more strain on the already stressful society,” adds Bloem. – additional reporting by Mercedes Besent

Minister appeals for everyone’s right to be respected: