South Africa launches campaign with US to accelerate global vaccination against Covid-19

CAPE TOWN: South Africa has launched the Global Vax campaign in partnership with the US government to accelerate vaccinations against Covid-19 and contribute to the goal of vaccinating 70% of the world’s population against coronavirus by 2022.
Speaking at the launch event at a stadium in KwaZulu-Natal province on Friday, Health Minister Joe Phaahla said the campaign for more people to get the life-saving vaccine continued unabated as the vaccine remains the only defense against Covid-19 infection.
“This initiative aims to contribute to the global goal of vaccinating 70% of the world’s population against Covid-19 by 2022,” he said.
“This approach builds on the extraordinary commitment that US President Joe Biden has made to donate more than 1.2 million vaccine doses by the end of 2022 and intensifies our efforts to get us vaccinated,” Phaahla said.
The minister said the Global Vax campaign is in addition to bilateral efforts with the US government, which encompass a wide range of programs, including HIV, tuberculosis, sexually transmitted infections and non-communicable diseases.
“It would be in addition to our work to improve the partnership in the response to the health pandemic and the strengthening of the health system between the two countries,” he said.
Global Vax will be implemented through a mechanism called Accelerating Development Against Pandemic Threats Activity (ADAPT), which will be managed by the NGO Right to Care in support of national and provincial health departments.
“We are increasing demand for vaccines in targeted districts, sub-districts and neighborhoods with low vaccination rates using local and above-the-line communication platforms,” the minister said.
This followed research findings from the University of Cape Town, which showed that 50% of unvaccinated people were willing to get vaccinated but are waiting to see the results of the vaccination roll-out.
“They say they don’t know where to go to get vaccinated or the sites are too far from them. Through this campaign, we run community campaigns to address concerns about vaccination, mobile vaccination teams are deployed to take vaccinations in underserved areas, especially in rural districts, while working with communities helps people find vaccination sites and receive the vaccine,” Phaahla said.
The minister also launched a campaign to support healthcare workers battling the pandemic, even when many of their colleagues or family members have succumbed to it.
“This campaign is called #CrazySock4Docs and includes all healthcare workers, and we support it by simply wearing different, colorful socks. This cost-effective sign of support means a lot to our hard-working, selfless healthcare workers,” Phaahla said, pointing out how he and the other guests on the catwalk wore shiny socks in different colors.
Phaahla said the government was happy with the uptake of vaccination in general, with 50% of the adult population receiving at least one vaccine, with that figure rising to 70% for those over 60, considered the most vulnerable.
“Our concern remains the category of young people, with low vaccination rates among them, especially the 35-49 age group, which exhibits a huge sense of hesitation, largely influenced by negativity and misinformation messages. on vaccines disseminated primarily through social media platforms,” ​​Phaahla said. said.
The minister also announced that anyone over the age of 50 could now receive a second booster shot from Monday if they last received one at least four months ago.
Phaahla said the majority of patients admitted to hospitals for Covid-19 were unvaccinated.
“It just suggests that unvaccinated people remain vulnerable and if we were to be hit with any other variation of concern or wave, unvaccinated people would flood our health facilities,” he said.

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