COVID-19 has been disrupting lives for over a year, but collaborations between health experts, business and government have ensured that the lives of South African citizens are spared through readily available vaccination for all.

Vaccines are safe, effective, and protect against serious illness, hospitalisation and death. Although there are many naysayers it is important for all of us not to believe fake news and myths that cause fear and panic.

Anything new has a high probability of getting resistance evident in how the vaccine has been received in the country. Throughout the year 2021, there have been information sessions and vaccine weekend campaigns that all things related to vaccination. Scientists and governments all over the world have contributed their knowledge and expertise in the development and distribution of vaccines.

Recent data from Discovery Health has shown that people who have received the two shots of the Pfizer vaccine have a 92% lower risk of hospitalisation and a 94% lower risk of death from COVID-19.

So far, no deaths in South Africa have been linked to any vaccines. A single shot offers significant protection, reducing the risk of hospitalisation by 73% and the risk of death by 79%. Everyone in the country can be safe by merely getting the jab. Early last year, healthcare workers were the first in South Africa to be vaccinated against Covid-19, with special early access to the Johnson &Johnson (J&J) vaccine.

What damage can COVID-19 vaccine misinformation do? Discovery Limited, South Africa-based financial services group has also shared what widespread fake news, misinformation can do, and the phrase “trust the science” has become more relevant when it comes to guiding citizens about the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines that will help the fight against the pandemic.

Did you know that in 2019, the World Health Organisation (WHO) listed “vaccine hesitancy”, fuelled by so-called “anti-vaxx” groups and movements across the world as one of the top ten threats to global health?

“Social media giants like Facebook and Instagram have reportedly struggled to control the spread of false content around COVID-19 vaccines on their platforms too,” says Dr Noluthando Nematswerani, Head of Discovery Health’s Centre for Clinical Excellence. Each of us has a responsibility to verify the information we use to make our decisions. This includes any information we find online about COVID-19 and the rollout of the vaccines.

The vaccine rollout has proven itself, globally, as an effective method to reduce cases of severe COVID-19 illness. Life after COVID-19 will be worthwhile if everyone unites to. The   SAcoronavirus site is bursting with information and we encourage that we educate ourselves with facts on the vaccine.