South Africa: The Doctor Who Set Up a Safe Space Vaccination Group On Social Media


Doctor Martin Young: 'We live for those posts that say "I am vaccinated. I was scared but I got it done"'.

First published in the Daily Maverick 168 weekly newspaper.

People need a safe space to talk about vaccines. Dr Martin Young came to this realisation when he witnessed "road rage reactions" on social media knowing that this was harming the cause of those who are pro-vaccine. Instead, anti-vaxxers were flooding platforms with fake information.

Young first saw the power of connecting people through social media when he created a WhatsApp group on 16 March 2020 in his home town of Knysna. The first group was about Covid-19 in general and he later formed a group for Covid-19 survivors.

The ear, nose and throat specialist has been running a clinic for surfer's ear, which is a condition in which abnormal bone growth occurs as a result of frequent exposure to water and cold.

"At the time, nobody knew what was going on," Young said. "But that group and then the group for Covid-19 survivors grew and grew. Eventually it reached 6,500 people.

"I realised that if you have the right people to join your team you can grow a very...

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