Vax Champs fight hesitancy

Vax champs fight social media misinformation to encourage people to vaccinate
Government hopes vax champs will help vaccine rollout (Photo: Freepik)

 The vax champs campaign will counter false information about COVID-19 spread on social media. 

The health department said that widespread misinformation discourages South Africans from vaccinating. Campaign coordinator Pauline Maketa believes that speaking to ‘vax champs’ would encourage those who are hesitant.

Speak to vaccinated people you trust

“Many people do want to get vaccinated but are concerned. This is because of what they have heard either on social media or from others. But someone they trust like a family member or a work colleague can persuade them to do the right thing,” said Maketa.

The National Institute for Communicable Diseases said vaccination is a safe and simple way to build resistance and greater immunity against COVID-19. 

“We know for a fact that those who vaccinate are less likely to get Covid-19.  And if they do they are less likely to need hospital care,” said Maketa.

Vax champs to the rescue

The government wants to vaccinate 70 percent of the population by the end of the year but so far just over 21 million people have had at least one Covid-19 vaccination. 

Health Minister Joe Phaahla encouraged everyone vaccinated to become a vax champ.

“We have to work together to reach the 70% of the population we need to be vaccinated,” said Phaahla.

Use every tool possible to fight misinformation

Vax Champs campaign team leader, Peter Benjamin, said similar campaigns have helped other countries change people’s minds.

“We need to use every tool we have to overcome Covid. Be it through face-to- “masked”-face conversations or on social media,” said Benjamin.

Vax Champs has three functions. Firstly, they must educate themselves about COVID-19 and vaccines. Secondly, they must promote vaccination to friends and family both on social media and in person, and finally, they should report any problems with the vaccination programme in their area.

To become a Vax Champ visit, use the NDOH Covid WhatsApp system 060 012 3456, or call the National Covid Hotline 0800 029 999. – Health-e News


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