South African celebrities including Springbok rugby player Faf de Klerk, comedian Riaad Moosa, Orlando Pirates and national football team defender Thulani Hlatshwayo and actress Pearl Thusi have joined forces to encourage people to get COVID-19 vaccinations. Check it out!
What’s the story?
Over the next few months, the four stars will be using their social media channels and speaking to media to combat vaccine hesitancy.
Appealing to people across the nation, from movie-lovers to sports and comedy fans, the celebrities will also help dispel common perceptions around the vaccine and encourage everyone to get vaccinated to protect South African communities and prevent the spread of the virus.
Speed Up The Process
“There is a view that if you take the vaccine you can die. And if you don’t have any symptoms, you don’t need to be vaccinated. But what we need to realise is that by taking the shot, it will help speed up the process of getting us back to normality. The sooner we all get vaccinated, the sooner we will get our lives back,” says Thulani Hlatshwayo.
Riaad Moosa, who is a qualified medical doctor, agrees and says that there is a deluge of fake news online which people are sharing, but which is not factual. “As a medical doctor, I understand that some of the facts may be technical and hard to understand and that it’s easier to share the drama about the vaccine online. There are a lot of conspiracy theories out there.”
Each of the celebrities has had their own personal journey with COVID-19, with Riaad having contracted it himself. The comedian’s entire family also became ill, and he lost a few members to the virus. “We contracted COVID-19 during the end of 2020 and the beginning of 2021. It was a horrible experience. I had less severe symptoms, but my wife contracted pneumonia, it was a very emotional time and difficult psychologically as many of the elderly members of my family got very ill.”
No Need To Panic
Pearl Thusi has also experienced her own journey of being initially hesitant about the vaccine, but after conducting her own research and consulting those in the medical profession she “has seen the light and has taken the step forward for myself, my family, and country.”
She goes on to say that there are a lot of different views on the vaccine in South Africa and people see things differently. But she believes there is plenty of misinformation and propaganda out there and that people will find information that concurs with their own beliefs. She says, “I have fallen prey to that sometimes, but that was unnecessary as I have now gathered enough information to support the reasons to take the vaccine. There is no need to panic.”
She now has the full picture and says she “wants to encourage people to do the right thing for their friends, families and communities.”
While Riaad and Pearl have registered to get the vaccine, Thulani and Faf have already received theirs. “I got the jab for my loved ones, for my friends and for the fans. We need to get vaccinated to get our lives back. We need to be together, and we need to unite so that we can fight the virus collectively and the only way that we can do that is if we are vaccinated,” says Thulani.
Be A Saver
Faf concurs and says that it is a lonely place to be competing in stadiums where there are no spectators. He wants life to go back to normal and believes the vaccine is the right and only route to take. “I want to encourage young players to continue to love the game. The sooner that they get vaccinated, the better for us all as we can get back on the field for our fans.”
With close to 8-million first shots of the vaccine having been administered, South Africa is on its way to vaccinate its population. And with news that the country will start producing its own vaccines in 2022, more people will have the opportunity to #BeASaver and stop the spread of the virus.
As part of their roles, Riaad, Faf, Thulani and Pearl will be spreading messages of encouragement across the nation. “I’ve chosen to be a Viral Facts ambassador as I personally feel that we have a voice and a message to send to the communities and our fans,” says Thulani. Pearl concurs and says she wants to encourage people to take action now for the population and human race. “Each one of us can create a ripple effect by sharing our experiences with others.”
The four, like all South Africans, want the pandemic to be over but know that it starts with every individual as the more who get vaccinated, the harder it is for the virus to spread. “What’s more, if it’s used with other forms of protection, the vaccine can help interrupt the spread of the virus and protect the community and vulnerable populations,” concludes Riaad.
Are you ready to #BeaSAver? Get informed and find out more at @viralfactsafro.
Viral Facts Africa is a social content hub launched in March 2021 by the Africa Infodemic Response Alliance to produce and distribute digital productions to combat health misinformation online. Since its launch, Viral Facts Africa has produced 180 videos and graphics in English, French, and Portuguese, reaching over 100million views.
For more info see https://viralfacts.org/africa/