TO NEWS EDITORS/ ASSIGNMENT EDITORS AND JOURNALISTS
DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH REFUTES INACCURATE AND Misleading FAKE NEWS STORY
The Eastern Cape Department of Health has noted with concerns how there has been a report which inaccurately said 59 health workers who have been received the COVID-19 vaccine have been hospitalised.
This cannot be further from the truth as only five health workers have been hospitalised after being vaccinated.
Such misleading news reports cause unnecessary panic in a society where government is also dispel conspiracy theories peddled by anti-vaxxers. Such fake news are creating alarm and should be condemned as they harm government’s vaccination programme.
We have looked at the report referenced in the News24 article and it is clear that the information published is a misinterpretation of the epidemiological data presented in the report.
The Department circulates its daily epidemiological report to all Stakeholders, including all media houses.
This is done not only because of transparency but to ensure that media houses report accurately instead relying on faceless people.
This is why it is shocking when journalists misread or misrepresent the information shared with them.
MEC Nomakhosazana Meth called for more responsible journalism.
“Vaccination is a sensitive matter as we are already dealing with people who manufacture and spread fake news about the vaccine.
“We have always been upfront that scientists have found that being vaccinated does not mean you will not contract COVID-19 but should you do, you are not likely to be hospitalised as people only have mild symptoms.”
To date, the province has recorded 98 cases of COVID-19 infections among health workers who have been inoculated since the vaccination programme started in February.
Of the 98, only five have been hospitalised with most having fully recovered and discharged. As of July 16, only two health workers were yet to be discharged.
Some health workers have succumbed to COVID-19 complications since we started rolling out the vaccine in February but none of those had received the jab as they opted to use their democratic right of not being vaccinated for different reasons.
The Department is actively tracking and monitoring COVID-19 infections among health workers who have been vaccinated. Data that we have at the moment proves that the vaccination programme is effective in preventing severe infection and hospitalisation from COVID-19 infection.
This means the sooner more people get the jab, the better they will be fully protected against the virus. This is why we have decided to open vaccination sites even on weekends as we ramp up our efforts so that we can inoculate at least 4.5-million in order to achieve herd immunity.
We would like to urge residents to continue adhering to regulations by wearing masks whenever in public, wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or alcohol-based hand sanitiser and practice social distancing.
For information about the Eastern Cape vaccination programme, the contact centre on 0800 032 364 is available.
The Department will be demanding a correction from News24 as the misleading report will cause damage and could possibly lead in some people not wanting to be vaccinated.
Department of Health Spokesperson, Sizwe Kupelo on 083 378 0196.
Issued by the Eastern Cape Department of Health Communications.