DURBAN - KWAZULU-Natal Health MEC Nomagugu Simelane said the department is planning to engage with more residents as it accelerates the Operation Siyagoma Waya Waya Covid-19 vaccination campaign.
The department had noted that speaking to people directly about the vaccine was extremely effective in dealing with any concerns they had, she said. “When you engage with them, some raise different concerns about the vaccine, and we’ve had to explain those.
“Once people get proper information, they become less hesitant and start responding positively, which is what we’re seeing,” she said.
She added that they would continue to engage with residents throughout the province this year, together with the premier and the provincial executive council.
The public should not take heed of prevalent fake news about the vaccine and only consume information from reputable and reliable news sources which are based on science, she said.
Provincial health department spokesperson Ntokozo Maphisa said getting vaccinated was an affirmation that you wanted to stay alive by equipping your body with the ammunition to fight the virus, in the event that you became infected.
The department was unhappy with the number of people who are fully vaccinated, he said. “That is why it’s important for all of society to band together and work towards influencing those who have not been vaccinated to do so as a matter of urgency,” he said.
He encouraged parents and guardians to speak to their children about why they must get the jab because of the recent cases of Covid-19 in children.
Speaking at the ANC's birthday celebrations on Saturday, President Cyril Ramaphosa urged people to get vaccinated.
“We can do better as South Africans, so I therefore urge all of us who have not yet been vaccinated, let us go out in our great numbers (and get the vaccine),” Ramaphosa said. “The recovery of our economy is very much dependent on many of us being vaccinated.”
The ANC wants a policy on vaccine mandates to be finalised, Ramaphosa added.
He had raised the possibility of vaccine mandates for certain places and activities in late November after local scientists alerted the world to the Omicron coronavirus variant, but that is yet to be implemented despite months of talks between the government, businesses and trade unions.
“We now need to give our people an incentive to go and be vaccinated, because that is the only defence and shield that we have,” he said.
The president, who contracted Covid-19 in December, said he had gone through “quite a lot of health difficulties” after testing positive but being vaccinated helped him stay out of hospital.
According to the latest vaccine stats on January 8, 15 098 vaccines had been administered in the past 24 hours, with 2 951 administered in KZN.
The total number of vaccines administered in the country stood at 28.3 million with 4.3 million doses given in KZN.