KZN vaccination drive hits hostels
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DURBAN - THERE is plenty of room for improvement as concerns grow over the low rate of vaccinations in KwaZulu-Natal.
Premier Sihle Zikalala and Health MEC Nomagugu Simelane visited the United Congregational Church of Southern Africa in Lamontville and S J Smith hostel in Lamontville, south of Durban, on Sunday. They encouraged congregants and hostel residents to get vaccinated against Covid-19. A pop-up site was set up in the hostel.
Some residents were hesitant, but the majority appeared to be keen to get vaccinated. Hostel headman Bhekani Zondi said the Department of Health pop-up site should be visited frequently, especially on weekends and after working hours.
“We appreciated the campaign. We need this frequently. We had a meeting with all block chairpersons. We agreed that each block chairperson should run his own campaign and bring people from his block to the vaccination site,” said Zondi.
The premier said that because of vaccine hesitancy his government decided to take the vaccination campaign to people in all corners of the province. He said that the high number of people who had been admitted to hospital since June mostly comprised those who had not been vaccinated.
“The mass vaccination programme has been re-packaged and re-launched. Members of the provincial cabinet are expected to venture into churches, community residential units (or hostels), shopping malls and various other places in order to drum up support for the life-saving medical intervention that is vaccination,” Zikalala said.
Simelane said the province was once leading in terms of the number of people who had been vaccinated. A sudden drop was attributed to misinformation on social media.
Zikalala said the province had vaccinated 2.3 million people out of 7 million which the government was targeting to reach by March 2022. He attributed the spike in cases to schools in eThekwini, uMgungundlovu, King Cetshwayo, Umkhanyakude and Ilembe districts where pupils tested positive in large numbers. Zikalala said a number of cluster cases had also been found at Department of Correctional Service sites, which affected both employees and inmates.
So far the province had vaccinated 56% of 60 years and above, 26% of 50 to 59s, but only 4% of 35 to 49s. The 18 to 34 group was also low, with only 5% vaccinated.
The province was currently vaccinating 30 000 people each day between Monday and Friday, and fewer than 10 000 over weekends.
Within the latest 24-hour reporting period, KZN had 1 340 new infections, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 500 320. The province has 59 274 active cases while 14 030 died. There have been 45 049 recoveries.
The number of daily hospital admissions continues to fluctuate in both private and public hospitals. Over the past week, 1 043 people were admitted in public and private hospitals.
“There is a growing body of evidence that shows that people who have been vaccinated tend to not suffer from severe illness or succumb to Covid-19 compared with those who have not been vaccinated,” he said.
The province had to date administered a total of 2.3 million doses.