By Kaya 959 Reporter
The Gauteng Department of Health blames fake news for the high number of healthcare workers refusing to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
The department says false propaganda on social media has affected the vaccination rate. The Gauteng Legislature’s health committee discussed the issue recently.
The department revealed that 31 521 or 36% of the province’s healthcare workers have not been vaccinated.
Meanwhile, 55 109 healthcare workers are fully vaccinated.
Since the start of the pandemic, 16 236 health workers have been infected with COVID-19, says the department.
A total of 1 908 workers had to be admitted to the hospital. Officials say 111 died.
“Ambulance staff have been badly affected, with 615 (24%) testing positive to date out of a total of 2544 Emergency Management Service staff, with three deaths,” the department says.
Approximately 15-20% of EMS staff do not want to take vaccines as they do not trust the vaccine.
More needs to be done to dispel ‘fake news’
The department says the constitutional rights of people to refuse the vaccine need to be respected. However, it says there are compelling occupational safety reasons for health staff to be vaccinated.
Healthcare workers have a higher risk of infection and could infect co-workers or patients, the department adds.
DA spokesperson on Health in Gauteng Jack Bloom says the Western Cape Health Department is doing better in this regard with more than 76% of its employees vaccinated.
“As we head towards a likely fourth wave of infection, more needs to be done to dispel vaccine misinformation in Gauteng,” Bloom says.
He says this will save lives and ease the strain on hospitals.
The Department of Health says the country’s confirmed COVID-19 cases climbed by 1 275 on Wednesday. Officials have reported a total of 22 new deaths, increasing SA’s COVID-19 death toll to 89 657.
The majority of the new cases are from Gauteng (80%), followed by the Western Cape for 5%. KwaZulu-Natal and North West each accounted for 3% respectively.
The Eastern Cape, Limpopo, and Mpumalanga each accounted for 2% respectively. The Free State and Northern Cape each accounted for 1%.
— Department of Health (@HealthZA) November 24, 2021