I’m as tired of writing about anti-vaxxers as you are of reading about them.
It remains a personal choice whether or not you get the vaccine, but the Western Cape’s health minister, Dr Nomafrench Mbombo, has had just about enough of those who spread misinformation.
Mbombo was a clinician before she took up a career in politics, reports TimesLIVE, so she’s earned the right to mouth off about what she’s witnessing in the province, and across the country.
Yesterday, she did just that:
“In all my career previously as a healthcare worker and clinician, then as an educator and a researcher, and now as a politician, I have never seen a disease that has so many people becoming not only opinionated, but also believing that they’re experts.”
She said she “shares the frustration of healthcare workers who’re the ones being affected by vaccine hesitancy not just around the province, but the country as a whole”.
Comparing the current crisis with previous epidemics such as HIV, she said back then people “valued information they got from medical and healthcare experts”
Nowadays, when you ask someone where they found the information they’re backing over the advice of trained medical professionals, they say ‘Facebook’, as if the social media site is somehow also a media outlet.
Worse still, it’s often a screenshot of a headline from a website nobody has ever heard of.
Back to Mbombo, who really is gatvol:
“If you don’t believe us, come and see for yourself — you will find 3,400 beds occupied by Covid-19 patients, many of whom chose not to get the vaccine. If you don’t understand 17,000 deaths from Covid-19 in the province, come to our mass facility centre in Tygerberg and see those 32 bodies that are there each day,” she added.
Mbombo said in December alone 45 health workers died in the Western Cape.
That number has now dropped significantly, with Mbombo reporting that the “majority of those are in people who were not vaccinated”.
It’s easy to read the latest stats each day (as of last night, 12 771 new COVID-19 cases and 357 deaths in 24 hours) and become totally numb to them, but healthcare workers don’t have that luxury.
As provincial head of health Dr Keith Cloete points out, they’re dealing with real people who they’ve sometimes treated for days or weeks, before losing the battle.
He said they were under “tremendous pressure every single day” and that “more and more they are treating people who are not vaccinated”.
This makes it “very hard for that doctor or nurse to be treating someone with severe disease who had the opportunity to be vaccinated, but did not take it. They can hear the stories of regret just before they get intubated, and that is the destruction of a life.”
“Health workers feel betrayed by that person and by those who are callously and irresponsibly influencing people not to get vaccinated,” he said.
That’s what makes the protest last weekend outside Groote Schuur hospital all the more infuriating.
Such a callous disregard for what’s happening inside that hospital, and the people who are working around the clock to try and save lives.
The less said about that serial truth-fudger Kouthar Davids the better, really.
If you’re on the fence about getting the vaccine or have fears and concerns, why not contact a doctor, or medical professional, and voice those concerns?
You’ll find many who are willing to answer any questions you have and separate the facts from the fiction, so that you can make a more informed decision, whether you end up getting the jab or not.
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