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South Africa: No rush to vaccinate despite new variant

People queue for a PCR Covid-19 test at the Lancet laboratory in Johannesburg on November 30, 2021.   -  
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South Africa

Despite numerous calls for South Africans to get vaccinated, many still remain unfazed by the emergence of the new omicron coronavirus variant.

In informal settlements in Johannesburg, people can be seen going about their day without face masks.

For Issac Moyana, who runs a small barber shop on the side of the road, people should take the virus seriously and get vaccinated in order to avoid another lockdown.

"The government is trying to encourage people to get vaccinated so that we can survive and continue working," Moyana said.

"Without employment we won't be able to survive, especially those of us who hustle for a living," he added.

Another resident, Tshepagalang Kgwedi, contracted COVID-19 at a family funeral.

But while the 26-year-old said she "believed" the virus exists, she said she had not known of anyone who had died from the virus.

Vaccine hesitancy continues to impede South Africa's vaccine rollout plan with only about 25% of the country's population vaccinated so far.

"I think people (here) have all lost hope when it comes to protection from COVID-19. I think many of them have developed the mindset that 'whatever happens, happens'," local resident Busisiwe Vilakazi said.

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