More than one-third of Gauteng health workers not fully vaccinated

Fake news on social media is being cited as a reason for vaccine hesitancy among health workers. Stock photo.
Fake news on social media is being cited as a reason for vaccine hesitancy among health workers. Stock photo.
Image: 123RF/Jaromír Chalabala

Despite a high number of Covid-19 infections, 31,521 out of 86,630 health workers employed by the Gauteng health department are not fully vaccinated.

This was revealed in a health department presentation at a meeting of the Gauteng legislature’s health committee on Tuesday, said the DA’s Jack Bloom.

According to the department, 55,109 (64%) of health workers are fully vaccinated.

Since the start of the pandemic, Bloom said, 16,236 health workers have been infected with Covid-19, of whom 1,908 had to be admitted to hospital and 111 died.

“Ambulance staff have been badly affected, with 615 (24%) testing positive to date out of a total of 2,544 emergency management service (EMS) staff, with three deaths,” said Bloom.

He said the department blames fake news on social media for the high number of staff declining vaccination. About 15% to 20% of EMS staff do not want to take the vaccine because they do not trust the jabs.

“While the constitutional rights of people to refuse the vaccine need to be respected, there are compelling occupational safety reasons for health staff to be vaccinated as they have a higher risk of infection and could infect co-workers or patients,” said Bloom.

“As we head towards a likely fourth wave of infections, more needs to be done to dispel vaccine misinformation in Gauteng, both among health workers and the general public. This will save lives and ease strain on our hospitals.”

TimesLIVE


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