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Desmond & Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation: Support for the COVID-19 vaccination

Governments are seeking to break the chain of COVID-19 transmission presently wreaking havoc worldwide through vaccination rollout strategies and plans. Vaccinations have ignited hope for lives and livelihoods” the Desmond & Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation said on Monday, 18 January 2021.

The Foundation was speaking after Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu pledged to be vaccinated against COVID-19 as soon as one became available to him. “We are encouraged by the Archbishop’s sincere public pledge, and we call on other public figures to make similar pledges,” said Foundation’s CEO, Piyushi Kotecha

The Foundation calls on South Africans to follow the Archbishop’s lead once a safe, efficacious and approved vaccine is made available to all.

My COVID-19 vaccine pledge:
COVID-19 has wreaked havoc. It has destroyed lives and livelihoods and it has robbed us of the comfort of family and friends, but we can stop it. We have vaccines.

I join many other world leaders in pledging to have a vaccine against COVID-19 as soon as one becomes available to me.

Vaccines have eradicated terrible diseases such as smallpox, and we are close to using them to make others, such as polio and measles, history. Yet many people are scared or wary of this simple, safe and effective way of protecting people against infectious diseases before they even come into contact with them.

There is nothing to fear. Vaccination uses your body’s natural defences to build resistance to infections. It makes your immune system stronger, and because vaccines contain only killed or weakened forms of disease-causing viruses or bacteria, they do not cause the disease or put you at risk of its complications.

When I was a teenager, in 1945, I contracted tuberculosis (TB). It robbed me of two years of my life as I underwent treatment in a TB hospital. I was lucky. I recovered.

TB remains South Africa’s number-one cause of death, and in the more than 70 years since I underwent TB treatment, millions of South Africans, and millions more of their brothers and sisters across Africa and the world, have also lost their lives, to a disease that is preventable.

In many countries, TB is no longer a threat. This includes large parts of Africa and South America. Its eradication is thanks to a combination of vaccines and effective treatment. We can do the same with COVID-19, and claim our lives back.

The more people who are vaccinated against COVID-19, the more every one of us is protected against this unpredictable and devastating disease.

Vaccinated people are protected from getting the disease against which they have been inoculated and from passing it on. This breaks the chain of transmission, but to do that properly, the majority of people in a community need to be vaccinated. This is what is known as “herd immunity”.

The percentage of a population that needs to be vaccinated in order to achieve herd immunity differs from disease to disease. For measles it is 95%, for polio 80%. We do not yet know what the percentage for COVID-19 is, but we do know this: the more of us who have the vaccine, the better for all of us.

I am pledging to have a COVID-19 vaccine, because I already know what it is to lose years of your life to a disease. I also know what it is to worry that I have passed a preventable disease on to people I love. I ask you to do the same.

Don’t let COVID-19 continue to ravage our country, or our world. Vaccinate.

Issued by Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu and The Desmond & Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation

 

[link url="https://www.polity.org.za/article/archbishop-emeritus-desmond-tutu-and-the-desmond-leah-tutu-legacy-foundation-support-covid-19-vaccination-2021-01-18"]Statement on the Polity site[/link]

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