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Covid-19 in South Africa: Perceptions of the virus and vaccine readiness

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Despite a strong national-level response, the Covid-19 pandemic has taken a significant toll, with nearly 95,000 deaths related to Covid-19 reported in South Africa alone. In the wake of this global health crisis, the South African government implemented stringent public lockdown measures to restrain the spread of Covid-19. These restrictions added to the socioeconomic and psychosocial impact of the pandemic itself. In February 2021, to slow transmission of Covid-19 without further lockdowns, the South African government began rolling out its Covid-19 vaccine programme – first to health workers and then along an age-related strategy based on vulnerability to the virus. However, as in other parts of the world, South Africa faced the challenge of vaccine hesitancy. A year later, roughly half of the population has been vaccinated – 43% of males and 57% of females over age 17 by the end of January 2022.

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