Recently, You’ve Earned It/YEI
conducted research on 60-plussers and the vaccination experience. The results for the YEI vaccination survey are in, and they are not what we expected!
Getting the population vaccinated is the key to a post-pandemic future – something most, if not all of us, want and need to get to, quickly.
From June to August 2021, You’ve Earned It/YEI conducted research on 60-plussers and the vaccination experience. The research was conducted across its platform – on the YEI website, the YEI Newsletter and the YEI Facebook page,
The responses generally showed a collective urge to put the pandemic to rest.
As at 17 August, 2021, the Department of Health’s latest vaccine statistics showed that just over 50% of South African 60-plussers had been vaccinated (30.78% female, 19.55% male).
YEI’s research showed that 93% of respondents aged 60+ had registered and had the vaccination and 7% had not registered for the vaccination (72% female, 28% male).
During this research, YEI received many comments from its members. Generally, the comments were positive regarding the experience and the side-effects. The EVDS system did have glitches, which scheduled appointments at distant locations. However, it appears that many seniors managed to source appointments or walk-ins at closer locations. The system seems to have got it right (mostly) second time round with the scheduling of vaccination locations closer to home.
- I had a good experience on the first occasion, although the process was a little lengthy. Second time around – it was extremely quick and efficient. No side-effects.
- I was sent an SMS for a venue about 30km away, so I tried a walk-in nearby at Moses Mabhida. The staff were very welcoming and efficient, and everything ran very smoothly. It took about 30 minutes, including the waiting time afterwards.
- I have received the Pfizer vaccination – both 1st and 2nd doses. Very friendly nurses. They did explain what to expect post vaccination. I experienced slight pain on the injected side but was ok after 2 days
However, the vaccination survey results are not as clear with regard to those who are vaccine-hesitant. We have previously seen an outpouring of comments from vaccine-hesitant seniors, but this did not come through as vociferously in this research. The assumption is that the vaccine-hesitant have not been participating in the survey.
Amongst those that are vaccine-hesitant, it would appear that the concerns are around possible side-effects, long-term consequences and an ineffective vaccine.
- I am not an anti-vaxxer, but do not believe that these vaccines have undergone enough testing. I have had one flu vaccine in my life, and suffered terribly.
- This is not a vaccination by definition. These vaccines have not undergone enough testing. I will try and survive for the next 5 years and see what the results are.
- Vaccination for corona viruses is crazy. Corona viruses mutate and there will always be variants. Viruses have been around for thousands of years. We humans need to deal with them.
Afrobarometer, a research network, recently reported that 7 in 10 South Africans have not been reassured that Covid-19 vaccines are safe. This accounts for the low registration rates and take-up of the vaccine. This kind of thinking does not bode well for the government’s mass vaccination program and will continue to pose significant challenges.
Further challenges and barriers to having the vaccination are apparent. Access to the internet and other resources needed in order to register for a vaccination are such challenges. Being far from vaccination sites is another challenge – one YEI member told us she is a 63 year old SASSA pensioner. She has registered, but it will cost her R200 in petrol money in order go and get the jab. She quite simply cannot afford this.
We are aware that the Department of Health plan to set up mobile vaccination sites at pay points for the old age grants, which hopefully will go a long way in upping the number of vaccinated seniors.
This research is not conclusive, but gives us a snapshot of YEI members’ opinions about the vaccination. It is our hope that as the vaccination program progresses, vaccination rates continue to rise, and the number of Covid-19 infections stabilise at low levels or drop radically.
YEI has a responsibility to educate and inform our senior audience on the critical importance of receiving a Covid-19 vaccination. In a nutshell, getting the vaccine remains one of the single, most important things that we can do, as individuals and collectively, in order to advance into the future.
One of YEI’s partners, Silver Fit, also ran a survey on their platform and are delighted to report that 95% of their members are vaccinated, which means that having reached herd immunity within their community, they are able to meet in-person again for their exercise classes.
YEI thanks all of the YEI members who have participated in conversations and surveys.