Eastern Cape Health MEC Nomakhosazana Meth has said one way to get more men to vaccinate is that women, especially unmarried ones, withhold sex until their partners get the jab.
According to Daily Maverick, the Eastern Cape wants to complete its first vaccination drive by April 2022, by which time it hopes to fully vaccinate a further 3.5 million adults, Health MEC Nomakhosazana Meth said in Gqeberha last week. Meth was speaking as the province recorded one million fully-vaccinated adults.
“It is a good idea to say no vaccine, no sex,” Meth said. “Especially for unmarried women. It will protect both of you.”
In the Eastern Cape, 61.98% of the vaccinated population are women and 38.02% are men.
The province has reached a milestone of having fully vaccinated one million adults – 62% of them over 60, adds Daily Maverick. Meth said 1.6 million people have currently registered for the jab in the province, but the government is worried about the low numbers of men being vaccinated.
“It is not good enough. We are doing everything in our power to encourage our brothers, fathers and grandfathers to do the right thing and get vaccinated. We have campaigns mainly aimed at men by taking the lifesaving jab directly to them [in places] like taxi ranks, malls, places of having fun and restaurants,” she said.
Dr Litha Matiwane, a deputy director-general for Eastern Cape Health, said in general men were hesitant to get involved in health issues. “They are dismissive of these things,” he said, which was one of the reasons the department was working with traditional leaders. “Men listen to their traditional leaders.”
The chairperson of the Eastern Cape Council of Traditional Leaders, Mwelo Nonkonyana has previously called on the national government to lift restrictions on meetings so that they can hold an imbizo (gathering) to discuss the vaccine.
“Traditionalists have their own things… They believe they are not going to vaccinate, but visit traditional practitioners for traditional herbs as they do not have enough information about the vaccine.”
Nonkonyana said the lockdown added to the confusion around vaccines as no gatherings were allowed to help them explain the science.
“The government said again that vaccinations are voluntary, but other government officials say people are not going to get their social grants if they are not vaccinated, and that conveys another message,” he said.
Meth said the current outbreak of infections was mostly under control. “When COVID-19 hit the country at the beginning of March last year, the Eastern Cape was the butt of the joke, with prophets of doom saying the virus would wipe us all out; that we are mainly a rural province, that when the virus gets to our villages, thatʼs it for us. But we are not the ‘Home of Legendsʼ for nothing,” said the MEC.
“We are resilient people and proving wrong everyone who wrote us off, because we have adapted and are doing our best not only to fight the spread of this enemy, but by vaccinating people by their thousands daily. Yes, we made mistakes but weʼve owned up to those and have not repeated them.
“We have not won yet, but we have administered the vaccine to 1,393,376 people – who are now fully vaccinated against this virus – which is worth noting and celebrating.”
Daily Maverick said by this past Sunday, 1,929,675 doses had been administered in the province, with some getting the J&J single jab and others, one of two doses of the Pfizer vaccine.
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