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Reasons For Vaccine Hesitancy In Eswatini

08 September 2021

A number of people in Eswatini seem to be mistrusting, concerned and having questions that need to be addressed by the Government about Covid 19 vaccine.

Following the outbreak of Covid 19 virus, the Government of Eswatini took a very brilliant step by offering Covid 19 vaccination to the nation. So far government reported that over 130 000 of emaSwati have been vaccinated out of a total population of 1.2 million. The Government target as announced by the Health Minister, Senator Lizzy Nkosi, is that 70% of the population should be vaccinated by December. The vaccine hesitancy is of concern and if not addressed adequately, the target will not be met.

Some members of the public do not trust the vaccine because of information and myths circulating mainly on Social Media. We have elderly people who cannot read but are influenced by family members not to take the vaccine.

Talking to some individuals who are not comfortable taking the vaccine, here are some of the reasons why they are not willing to vaccinate:
➢  fear that covid 19 vaccine will alter their DNA? ➢They believe that the Covid 19 vaccine contains microchips?
➢ They heard that the Covid 19 vaccine causes magnetism?
➢ They were told that Covid 19 vaccine is not safe during pregnancy or when breastfeeding?
➢ The Covid 19 vaccine has fatal side effects. Some people have died after taking the vaccine?
➢ Religious beliefs do not allow for them to take the vaccine.

As much as the latest case studies show that people who have not received the vaccine have severe symptoms when they get Covid, still some remain skeptical. On the other hand others have taken the vaccine due to the lesser number of complications among those who took the Covid vaccine.

The Government of Eswatini should put more effort to educate the nation about the Covid 19 vaccine.
Giving clarity and truthful answers to these questions can help people change their perceptions about covid 19 vaccine or make a medically informed decision whether or not to take the vaccine. We request the Ministry of health to continue educating the nation and respond meaningfully and truthfully to these questions, no matter how trivial the reason may sound. Only education and sharing of accurate information will build public trust.

Meanwhile, Emaswati are encouraged to register for vaccination, it is now open for everyone aged 18 and above.

Featured image sourced @EswatiniGovern1

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