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POLL | Should TV shows carry messages about Covid-19 and vaccines?

17 August 2021 - 14:18 By Cebelihle Bhengu
Well-known TV producer Phathu Makwarela says government should use TV shows to educate South Africans about the Covid-19 vaccines. File photo.
Well-known TV producer Phathu Makwarela says government should use TV shows to educate South Africans about the Covid-19 vaccines. File photo.
Image: SUNDAY TIMES/ALAISTER RUSSELL

TV script writer and producer Phathutshedzo “Phathu” Makwarela says the government and the entertainment industry should collaborate to educate television audiences about Covid-19 and the importance of vaccination.

This as SA sees a slump in daily vaccinations and the health department laments budget shortages for mass communication.

I wish the department of health had partnered with the SABC, e.tv and MultiChoice soap operas to drive home key messages regarding the vaccine rollout.

“South Africans are obsessed with daily dramas and the dramas have been used to drive social messages in the past. Stories inspire people to take action. Modelling social behaviour via soap operas is a global model that works,” Makwarela tweeted on Sunday.

The Sunday Times reported the 153,999 vaccinations last Friday were more than 43% lower than the daily record of 273,011 set on July 21.

Francois Venter, professor of medicine at Wits University, said: “The continued inability to hit daily vaccine targets should be seen as a national emergency.”

Makwarela echoed the sentiments shared by Stavros Nicolaou of Business for SA, which is in partnership with the government on the vaccination rollout.

Nicolaou said the government needs to use the media, among other strategies, to raise awareness about the vaccines. 

“Males relate to sports celebrities and heroes so we have to tweak our communication with that in mind,” Nicolaou said. 

Gauteng provincial spokesperson Vuyo Mhaga told TimesLIVE last week the provincial government will establish programmes aimed at encouraging men to vaccinate.

LISTEN | Young & white South Africans 'less accepting' of vaccines: survey

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