The Ministry of Health has noted with concern public statements made by individuals and stakeholders, including the Commission for Gender Equality (CGE) which issued a statement to the media on January 17, 2022, titled “Warning against the imposition of compulsory vaccination against Covid-19 on employees and students”. .
The Department respects the freedom of expression of any individual or organization as enshrined in the Constitution of the Republic. However, we believe that this freedom should be exercised responsibly to impart information or ideas to empower our associates to make informed health choices in these challenging times.
It is concerning that the statement issued by the CGE on menstrual irregularities associated with COVID-19 vaccines appears to have been made without consultation with any of the expert institutions. The statement did not consider all of the available evidence and the substantial benefits associated with vaccinating women of childbearing age and pregnant women. The ministry agrees and supports the statement released yesterday by various health sector organisations, including the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC) to challenge the facts as presented by the EMC.
COVID-19 vaccines are highly effective against serious diseases, and vaccination of women of childbearing age is important as South African and global data have clearly shown that SARS-CoV-2 infection during pregnancy worsens significantly to obstetric and neonatal outcomes, making it imperative that vaccination programs target young women before and during pregnancy.
It is also important to emphasize that the current vaccine mandate discussions have no bearing on the effectiveness and efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines, and we reject any argument against the constitutionality of the vaccine mandate based on evidence. fallacious and unscientific.
The Minister is advised by committees of highly qualified scientists and clinicians, including the Minister’s Vaccine Advisory Committee (VMAC) and the National
Immunization Safety Expert Committee (NISEC) whose mandate is to review vaccine safety data and make recommendations on the safe use of vaccines.
In addition, the South African Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (SASOG) and the South African Medical Association (SAMA) also provide their members with evidence-based recommendations on the use of vaccines.
The Commission’s conclusion that “many women may not feel comfortable with vaccines, due to possible long-term effects” is not supported by data and is not based on an analysis of risks and benefits. Additionally, the EMC statement may contribute to misinformation and unnecessary vaccine hesitancy among young women and, at worst, could contribute to maternal and neonatal deaths.
Thus, we would like to implore anyone with different views and theories on vaccine effectiveness, to back up their comments and arguments with scientific evidence, and to share the data with the government for the benefit of all. Population.
The Department will remain open and accessible to any individual, public or private organization to discuss their concerns, recommendations and inputs regarding the COVID-19 vaccine, and will also engage the CGE further on the matter.