Limpopo MEC for health Phophi Ramathuba is planning to embark on a campaign to plead with liquor outlet owners to refuse to sell alcohol to unvaccinated customers as part of efforts to ramp up her inoculation programme and achieve herd immunity in the province.
Ramathuba made these remarks during an interview with Sunday World about the South Africans’ worrisome vaccine hesitancy.
The hesitancy is being driven largely by myths that are being spread by anti-vaxxers and Covid-19 conspiracy theorists.
“We want to appeal to all tavern, shebeen and club owners to refuse to sell booze to those who did not vaccinate. Only those who have vaccinated must be allowed to buy alcohol.
“They must refuse to sell alcohol to those who have not vaccinated or don’t have vaccination cards. So, in a nutshell, the message is clear, no vaccination card, no alcohol,” she said.
Ramathuba said she was optimistic that liquor outlet owners will support her campaign because it will be beneficial to their business.
“Remember when we had the first, second and the third waves, the liquor industry was the hardest hit because government prohibited the sale of alcohol for on-site and off-site consumption, and that resulted in many outlets closing shop and people losing jobs.
“So, if we all vaccinate, there won’t be any waves and there will be no need for government to prohibit the sale of alcohol,” she said.
Ramathuba also said her campaign will also encourage women to reject invitation to romantic or dinner dates with men who did not vaccinate.
“When we declared war against HIV/AIDS, we introduced the ‘no condom, no sex’ campaign and we made significant progress in the fight against this disease.
“So this time around, we want to say ‘no vaccination card, no date’. We are saying so because the majority of people who are not vaccinating are males, so If we all vaccinate there won’t be any waves and there will be no need to prohibit alcohol
I want to tell our women, particularly young adults, to tell men who invite them to a date to produce a vaccination card first. If they don’t have it, they must refuse. Our people must know that they will not win the war against Covid-19 in the ICU, but through vaccination.”
Ramathuba said she also wished the government would prohibit unvaccinated people from travelling. “It is my wish that interprovincial visits could be prohibited for those who do not have vaccination cards. But that is just a wish because there are laws in this country that we all have to follow and respect.
“But those who are close to me … must know that they will not pay me a visit in my house if they have not vaccinated.”