Apr 20, 2021

Government Step Up Its Fight Against Vaccine Fake News

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Reddy said the pandemic has had a profound social impact on all South Africans and people across the globe.

FILE PHOTO: Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation, Dr Blade Nzimande. PICTURE: GCIS

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PRETORIA: The government is working tirelessly to fight the danger of fake news against Covid-19 and the vaccination plan.

Despite it being beneficial for communicating, social media has come under scrutiny as it continues to be manipulate spread a false claim about inoculation.

According to Dr Blade Nzimande, the discussion underscores the urgency with which the government is responding to the pandemic last week in the statement.

“What complicates the fight against Covid-19 is that while people are facing the real threat of losing their lives  fake news and misinformation are causing them to be paranoid, and to doubt the usefulness of vaccines and other public health intervention,” said Dr Nzimande in the statement.

“The public must be informed that the Covid-19 virus is purely biological and has no roots in any Fourth Industrial Revolution technology like other 5G,” he said.

The Minister is bemoaned how vaccines are being branded as another “pandemic” that should be avoided at all costs. He has also assured people not to worry as vaccines are backed by science, together with peer-reviewed research and multiple and independent trials.

“Vaccines have been providing immunity against infectious diseases for over 200 years, in the process saving millions of lives across the globe, this is to ensure that vaccines administered to the public are safe and efficacious,” said the Minister.

He further says, government is working towards collaboration with China, Russia and Cuba in the areas of lifesaving shots and vaccine development. He is also advocating for African traditional medicine to be recognised at the highest level in the fight against Covid-19.

The Minister cited Edward Jenner, who uses cowpox material to create immunity against smallpox more than 200 years ago.

“This point is made to remind the public that vaccines and vaccination did not arise with the outbreak of Covid-19. Furthermore, there is reason to believe that there will be other pandemics that will need appropriate vaccines in future,” he added.

Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) professor, Priscilla Reddy said the pandemic has had a profound social impact on all South Africans and people across the globe.

“If the myths are not dealt with, we will find that vaccination coverage will fall short of the 67% that is targeted, and the virus will be widely transmitted as we move forward,” she said.

Reddy said vaccination is an important method of prevention infectious diseases and second only to clean water in terms of its public health impact. And the negative aspects of vaccines tend to get more publicity compared to factual information.

“Myths concerning vaccines are damaging. Even as the availability of vaccines increases, if people don’t accept the vaccine because of these myths,  you are not going to win the battle,”

“This is a devastating and scary pandemic, and it shouldn’t be aggravated by the types, methods and styles of information that the public are exposed to,” she concluded.

Reddy also said the public should be convinced that the conveyers of information have their best interests at heart, rather than personal gains and self-interest.

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