Ignore the anti-vax brigade and focus on the vax hesitant

Not enough is being done to accelerate vaccinations, the spin-off from which will bring some of the unvaxxed on board

“There is no virus,” read one of the placards at a recent anti-vax protest held, of all places, near Cape Town’s Groote Schuur Hospital, as doctors and nurses inside this famous health facility battled to save lives ravaged by coronavirus infections. More than 79,421 dead, but there is no virus. “I am not a lab rat,” read another. Trust me, the fact that the American Food and Drug Administration (FDA) this week fully approved Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine will do nothing to change made-up minds.

“We support Susan” troubled me. I know Dr Susan Vosloo well. She is one of the University of the Free State’s (UFS) most distinguished graduates (first woman heart surgeon), who served on the university council during my tenure as vice-chancellor. I spent time with her in Cape Town medical suites and saw photographs of her heart-transplant patients on the walls, including one of a childhood friend who recently died of, you guessed it, Covid-19. Smart, charming and unassuming, I was devastated to hear the famous doctor make the nonsense claim that “the risk of the vaccine is worse than [the] risk of the virus”. That virtually every medical scientist disagrees with this statement does not matter to the “anti-vax” crowd; here is a doctor to back them up...

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