Tebogo Msimanga |
The Department of Health says it has noted with concern the public statements made by individuals and stakeholders including the Commission for Gender Equality (CGE) which issued a media statement on 17 January 2022, titled “Warning Against Imposing Mandatory Covid-19 Vaccination on Employees and Students”.
The Department added that it respects the freedom of expression by any individual or organisation as enshrined in the Constitution of the Republic.
“However, we believe such freedom should be exercised responsibly to impart information or ideas to empower our people to make well-informed health choices during these difficult times.”
Health spokesperson Foster Mohale said it is of concern that the statement released by the CGE on menstrual irregularities associated with COVID-19 vaccines appears to have been done without consultation with any of the expert institutions.
“COVID-19 vaccines are highly effective against severe illness, and immunising women of reproductive age is important as both South African and global data have clearly shown that SARS-CoV-2 infection in pregnancy significantly worsens obstetric and neonatal outcomes, making it imperative that vaccination programmes target young women before and during pregnancy.” Stressed Mohale.
He added that the conclusion by the Commission that ‘many women may not be comfortable taking vaccines, due to possible long-term effects’ is not supported by data and is not based on a risk-benefit analysis.
“Furthermore, the CGE’s statement may contribute to misinformation and needless vaccine hesitancy in young women, and at its worst, could contribute to maternal and neonatal deaths.”