'What's the problem if it's proven safe?' Phumzile Van Damme on people refusing Covid-19 vaccine
DA MP Phumzile Van Damme has questioned why some South Africans are unwilling to get vaccinated even though the jabs are scientifically proven to be safe.
“You were immunised as a baby with vaccines to protect you against deadly diseases. What’s the problem now especially if the vaccine has been proven safe?” she tweeted on Monday.
A user said people's decisions not to get vaccinated should be respected, not questioned, which Van Damme agreed with but expressed concern about spreading the virus.
The MP received mixed responses from users who said the vaccines have been developed too fast and questioned whether they are safe.
I wonder about people whose bodies are full of vaccines which have kept them alive being afraid of COVID vaccination. You were immunised as a baby with vaccines to protect you against deadly diseases. What’s the problem now esp if the vaccine’s been proven safe? Angilwi ngiyabuza— Phumzile Van Damme (@zilevandamme) March 29, 2021
I’m trying to understand the reasoning from a health and not necessarily philosophical positioning. I agree with your sentiments to some degree, but the practicalities are also important particularly as refusal may result in transmitting the virus to others.— Phumzile Van Damme (@zilevandamme) March 29, 2021
Van Damme's concerns come as SA gears up for the second phase of the vaccine rollout set to start in mid-May. On Monday, President Cyril Ramaphosa and deputy president David Mabiza visited the Aspen Pharmacare facility in Gqeberha, Eastern Cape.
It will manufacture Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccines which will be administered to “at least half of the SA population”, according to Aspen CEO Stephen Saad.
Health-care workers are currently receiving the J&J vaccines through the Sisonke trial which aims to vaccinate 500,000 of the estimated 1.5 million health-care workers by the end of April.