As the government ramps up its vaccination drive, members of the public continue to have questions and concerns about the safety of COVID-19 vaccines. 

 

In an attempt to allay fears by providing scientific answers to complex questions, the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI) is hosting a webinar on Wednesday, 22 September, focusing on the role women can play in debunking myths on COVID-19 vaccination.

 

Government aims to vaccinate 70% of the population by Christmas, and more than 15 million doses have been administered to date. Of those vaccinated, 57,32% were women. Vaccination in South Africa is free to everyone over the age of 18 and citizens can go to any of the thousands of vaccination sites around the country.

 

This week's webinar will be led Prof. Helen Rees, who is leading South Africa's leg of a global trial to identify treatments for COVID-19 and chairs the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority.

 

The professor will be joined by other eminent women scientists and researchers, who are all well able to answer difficult questions about vaccination and to dispel vaccine myths related to fertility, pregnancy and co-morbidity safety on the basis of the latest research.

 

Pathologist Dr Ntokozo Mzimela, affectionately known as the "Bug Doctor", is one of the panellists.  She has more than 15 years in health industry, and a special interest in infectious diseases such as TB, HIV and COVID-19.

 

Other panellists include Dr Palesa Sekhejane, a medical technologist specialising in nanomedicine, currently working at the Human Sciences Research Council.

 

This week's webinar is the second in the South African Women in Science Awards (SAWiSA) series aimed at recognising women in science and celebrating their achievements.

 

Traditionally celebrated in the month of August, SAWiSA honours the women stalwarts who marched to the Union Buildings in 1956 to protest against the apartheid pass laws.

 

The media are invited as follows:

Date: 22 September 2021

Time: 14:00 - 16:00

 

To attend, please register here: 

https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_zdE2Vnf6RDmj_tpqJBLfow

 

Issued by the Department of Science and Innovation.

 

For enquiries, please contact Veronica Mohapeloa at 083 400 5750.