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A drastic decline in the number of vaccinations being administered at Nelson Mandela University has prompted the university to engage students, staff and the public on the hesitation about getting the jab.

According to NMU, fewer people are showing up at vaccination sites across the Bay every week and of particular concern is the 18 to 34 cohort, whose initial eagerness seems to have dwindled.

NMU Covid-19 co-ordinating committee member Prof Darelle van Greunen noted with concern the vaccine hesitancy in the metro and nationally, saying healthcare workers went to great lengths to make sure that the eligible public had access to the vaccine.

“The 18-year age group and older are also not as active as was anticipated.

“Vaccination sites in the metro have become quiet in a sense,” she said.

NMU, which earlier this year opened its own vaccination site in partnership with the department of health, has now embarked on a campaign to encourage as many of its staff and students to get vaccinated.

According to NMU’s statistics, vaccinations for the 18-34 age group have declined since the first week of the vaccine rollout being open to them.

Between August 20-27, when registrations opened and walk-ins were permitted, a total of 881 were vaccinated in the age group.

A total of 480 students from Gqeberha and George, 96 staff members, and 305 members of the public in the age group were vaccinated.

The following week, the total dropped to 343.

This included 29 staff members, 81 members of the public, and 233 students.

“There has definitely been a noticeable decline in numbers, which is of concern and being monitored,” NMU spokesperson Zandile Mbabela said.

“There could be a number of variables influencing young people’s decisions not to vaccinate or be slow in taking up the opportunity to do so.

“To get a clearer understanding of the reasons, the university is engaging students to hear from them what their reasons for not taking the vaccine or the slow uptake thereof are.”

In a recent poll by the university, aimed at gauging the appetite for the vaccine among students, 52% indicated they would take the vaccine, 24% voted “maybe” and the rest indicated they would not.

“We are of the view that fake, non-credible or unverified information has affected people’s views on the pandemic, in general, and now with the vaccination rollout.

“We are, however, also mindful that there could be other factors affecting their decisions.

“There are going to be people choosing not to get vaccinated based on religion and non-belief in vaccines in general,” Mbabela said.

Dr Adam Woodford, who treats Covid-19 patients at Livingstone Hospital, said to date more than three-billion people worldwide had the vaccine.

“To put this into perspective, not even one billion people have had Covid yet.

“With the nature of this pandemic, it is one of the most extensively trialled and monitored agents ever.”

He asked what other drug had had a sample study group with a size of this magnitude.

To date, more than a million doses of the vaccine have been administered in the Eastern Cape.

This article appeared in The Herald (South Africa) on 8 September 2021 written by Lynn Spence


Contact information
Ms Zandile Mbabela
Media Manager
Tel: 0415042777