Vaccine hesitancy stems from lack of information: Psychologist

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

According to the Health Department, more than 5 million people in South Africa have been fully vaccinated so far.

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

“I am of the opinion that people’s reluctancy or hesitancy to vaccinate is actually valid when viewed from their perspective or context. When you got no knowledge of vaccination, it’s going to sound like a crazy idea. The hesitancy or reluctance may not only stem from limited information but also from an understanding of that information. Once we have that information, do we trust the person who is giving it to us? Do we trust the actual information?”

South Africa has recorded 13 251 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total number of laboratory-confirmed cases to 2 722 202.

The national Department of Health has also reported a further 516 COVID-19 related deaths, bringing total fatalities to 80 469 to date.

Vaccine hesitancy one of the global health threats: WHO

Psychologists say vaccine hesitancy stems from several factors including a lack of information as well as group thinking influence. The World Health Organization (WHO) says vaccine hesitancy is one of the global health threats.

Psychologists say more needs to be done to address vaccine hesitancy in the country.

South Africa launched its vaccination programme in February this year. The aim was to vaccinate 70% of the population, or 28 million people, by end of the year. To do this, 250 000 jabs a day would need to be administered.

However, since the end of last month, only 200 000 people a day were vaccinated as vaccine apathy began to set in.

“I’m not willing to vaccinate because I’m not sure if this thing is going to work. At first, they said you only have to vaccinate yourself once, after that they came with other stories that you have to vaccinate twice,” are some of the reasons cited.

“My parents at home are scared to vaccinate because of fake news they heard from people that you tend to get side effects or die after getting a jab. My plea to government is to go to our parents and teach them about vaccination, instead of just telling them to get vaccinated,” said another person.

South Africans share their views on taking the vaccine and reasons for hesitancy: