Solidarity Fund’s Doctor Saul Johnson says South Africans should stop thinking that natural immunity will protect them from COVID-19. The country is faced with vaccination hesitancy, and the Health Department and other institutions held a webinar in a bid to change attitudes.

So far, just more than 13 030 588 people have been fully vaccinated. That is about 32.74 % of adults.

The government’s target is to have at least 70% of the population vaccinated by Christmas. The government has been aiming to administer at least 300 000 vaccinations per day.

Government has embarked on campaigns to encourage people to get vaccinated:

However, achieving this has been a challenge, as a result of hesitancy. In the last 24 hours, only 125 231 people were inoculated.

Solidarity Fund’s Doctor Saul Johnson says people should not think their bodies will fight the virus on their own.

“The issue of natural immunity almost becomes irrelevant because vaccines are by in large incredibly safe. Our aim is to keep you out of the hospital and stop people from dying and because the vaccines are safe and effective. So, we would rather say everybody should vaccinate.”

The  National Immunisation Safety Expert Committee’s Professor Hannelie Meyer says the government’s vaccination target may be unrealistic.

“We all want to go back to the outside and back to our normal lives where we can move through Christmas and lockdown level two and one again. But the picture doesn’t look so promising. So, the question is are we going to reach that 70% that we are aiming for?”

Government has also introduced the Vooma Vaccination Drive on weekends to deal with hesitancy. COVID-19 Ministerial Advisory Committee member, Bishop Malusi Mpulwana says to win the hearts of the people, the government should involve traditional leaders, nurses in rural communities, and all religious leaders.

“It’s better to empower the immediate influencers in communities. The people that we listen to and in fact, we are operating on the assumption that every decision that a person makes about the vaccine is a decision that one makes as an individual but also in relation to the people immediately around them. Family, friends, neighbours, pastor, and whoever has influence.”