Johannesburg – SouthAfrica men’s national soccer team captain Thulani Hlatshwayo says everyone needs to be vaccinated against COVID-19 if the world is to get back to normal.
Hlasthwayo this week said “the best way we can move closer to normality and have supporters fill the stadiums again is by encouraging COVID-19 vaccinations”.
The pandemic means fans have been shut out of stadia, though spectators have been allowed back in many European countries where vaccination rates are high.
Hlatshwayo said, “We miss the vibe and the energy. As a player, running on the field and feeling the adrenaline and hearing your fans chanting for you, I miss that. Hopefully, we will be able to follow the protocols and be able to move closer to normality.”
The Bafana Bafana captain joins a host of other influential people who are campaigning for and encouraging people to vaccinate.
“I got the jab for my loved ones, for my friends and for the fans. We need to get vaccinated to get our lives back. We need to be together, and we need to unite, so that we can fight the virus collectively, and the only way that we can do that is if we are vaccinated,” he said.
Hlatshwayo is an ambassador for an online health information platform called Viral Facts #BeASave.
“I’ve chosen to be a Viral Facts ambassador as I personally feel that we have a voice and a message to send to the communities and our fans. This platform has given me a way to spread information about the vaccine and how we can fight this virus,” he said.
South African rugby star Faf de Klerk, comedian Riaad Moosa and actress Pearl Thusi have also used their social media channels to combat vaccine hesitancy.
Since the start of the COVID-19 vaccine roll-out, which is open to all adults over the age of 18 in South Africa, more than 11.3 million doses have been administered in the country.