Pensioners, who were prioritised by Durban’s executive committee to receive the Covid-19 vaccine first, wait in line at Moses Mabhida Stadium. Picture: Jehran D Naidoo/African News Agency (ANA)
Pensioners, who were prioritised by Durban’s executive committee to receive the Covid-19 vaccine first, wait in line at Moses Mabhida Stadium. Picture: Jehran D Naidoo/African News Agency (ANA)

Relief for pensioners as KZN’s Covid-19 vaccinations get under way

By Jehran Daniel Time of article published May 19, 2021

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Durban: Pensioners from the city of Durban breathed a sigh of relief on Wednesday as day two of the province of KwaZulu-Natal’s vaccination programme got under way.

eThekwini’s vaccination programme, which began on Tuesday, has the capacity to vaccinate up to 19,000 people a day.

The city’s executive council has approved 16 vaccination sites. Six are in operation, with the remainder to be opened once demand picks up, explained eThekwini’s deputy city manager for community and emergency services Dr Musa Gumede.

The elderly waited in line at Moses Mabhida Stadium to receive their first jab of the Pfizer vaccine, which requires them to go back for a second dose either in two weeks’ time or no later than six weeks.

Rachel Tallman, 89, told African News Agency (ANA) that she couldn’t wait to get the vaccine so she could feel safe again.

“This is the first time I’m happy to be my age because I have been pushed to the front of the queue,” Tallman said.

Not everyone waiting in line, however, was eager to receive the Pfizer jab, as retired vehicle examiner Joe Naicker, 73, said that he and his wife had their doubts at first but then considered taking it.

“We actually read an article not too long ago about the same Pfizer vaccine and it wasn’t too good news. My wife and I saw other people around us get sick and some of them lost their lives. We saw many young people get infected and lose their lives. That is when we thought otherwise.

“We had some doubts after reading reports in the paper, but then my doctor advised us to go ahead with the vaccine,” Naicker said on Wednesday morning while waiting in line.

Pooja Maharaj, who travelled around 60km from Umzinto, a small town on the south coast of KZN, accompanied her grandparents, who are 82 and 79 years old.

Mr Maharaj, 82, and his wife, 79, who travelled from Umzinto, sit patiently to receive their vaccine while their grandchild Pooja Maharaj waits in line for them. Picture: Jehran D Naidoo/African News Agency (ANA)

Maharaj said that she registered for their vaccines about a week ago online and wanted to get them vaccinated as soon as possible. Maharaj said that they, too, first had doubts about taking the vaccine.

“I actually contacted our general practitioner for his opinion because I was a bit sceptical about it at first, but he said that there weren’t many options left besides the vaccine.

“My grandparents were living alone, but we had to get them vaccinated because there's so many people in their house now who are looking after them. So the vaccine made sense,” Maharaj explained.

Speaker of the eThekwini Municipality, Weziwe Thusi, who received her vaccine on Tuesday morning, urged pensioners to register as quickly as possible.

According to KZN Health MEC Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu, phase two of the roll-out plan is aimed at vaccinating 2,933 million people, of whom 955,048 are above the age of 60.

“We are confident that our 1,657 vaccinators who will be working at different vaccination sites will be equal to the task,” Simelane-Zulu said in a statement on Tuesday.

- African News Agency

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