CONNOR MONTAGUE is a 4th-Year MBChB student at Stellenbosch University. Photo: Supplied.

Shots and Prayers

BY CONNOR MONTAGUE

As we all know, the world has been in the midst of an apocalypse for the past two years. Between the pandemic, conspiracy theories, natural disasters, lootings, taxi wars, and TikTok, 2020 and 2021 really said, “We’re going to make these people regret being alive.” Therefore, this article is obviously about the Square closing down. Just kidding. 

Rather, this article is about the one thing we are all now empowered to do to prevent entertainment establishments closing down: getting vaccinated. Yes, as of 20 August 2021, COVID-19 vaccinations have opened up to the 18–35 year-old cohort, and we really made a show of the first day, with record numbers of vaccinations in multiple provinces. 

Sadly, it is not enough. The fact of the matter is that some polls have suggested that more than half of South Africans do not want to get vaccinated, and consider the power of prayer better protection than the vaccine. Now, I am fully in support of the power of prayer; I use it myself daily. But, at the same time, there is a point where one must consider one’s ability to continue praying in the future—which means not dying to a vaccine-preventable disease.

And it really is a possibility. COVID-19 has an approximately 2,95% mortality rate in South Africa. 

There have been 2,68 million cases and, of those, 79 251 people have died, according to the data of Sunday 22 August from the COVID-19 South African Online Resource and News Portal. That is more than one out of every 50 cases. If you have had COVID-19 and survived, you are lucky. People do not realise that. They also do not realise how bad COVID-19 can really be. I promise you, when a patient is put onto a ventilator, it is the doctors and nurses who are really using the power of prayer. 

Vaccines will protect you from being hospitalised in the event that you contract COVID-19. They will also help to reduce your chances of spreading it to others. Yes, vaccine injuries do occur. All medicines have potential side effects. The point is to weigh the benefits against the risks. In the case of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, the major risk is approximately one in 500 000. Compare that to COVID-19’s rate of one in 50.

But seriously, we are all far too intelligent to be following conspiracy theories like they are TikTok dances. There are public-access, peer-reviewed articles on side effects. There are published lists of vaccine ingredients. There is a document from the Vatican saying that the vaccine is not anti-Catholic! Wow, you really can find anything. 

Talk to your friends and family. Help them get vaccinated. We will not get the Square back, but at least bars will not close at 20:00.

As always, this is not medical advice. Everyone should consult with their doctor before taking any kind of medication. But, broadly speaking: GET VACCINATED.

[1] COVID-19 Data Repository by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University, https://github.com/CSSEGISandData/COVID-19

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