’For ZCC leaders to say I am available to be vaccinated and that the vaccine works, is wonderful’
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Pretoria - MEC FOR Health in Limpopo Dr Phophi Ramathuba said she was very emotional after two ZCC leaders had their Covid-19 vaccinations.
His Grace the Right Reverend Bishop Dr Barnabas Edward Lekganyane and his wife, Elizabeth, as well as the leader of St Engenas ZCC Bishop Dr Joseph Lekganyane and his wife received their Covid-19 vaccines at the Pietersburg Hospital in Limpopo yesterday. The jabs were administered by Ramathuba.
"I grew up as a child among spiritual leaders, but the difference is these are not just leaders of a church in Limpopo; they are leaders of a church which stretches across the continent. They have millions of worshippers.
"For them to say I am available to be vaccinated and that the vaccine works, is wonderful, For us it was a humbling experience to be there with them and to see how humble they are.
“They chose to be vaccinated at a public facility - a public hospital. We regard ourselves as really fortunate. They did not only do this for the people of Limpopo. They did it for everyone," the MEC said.
She said they expected the demand for vaccines to be even bigger now that these leaders had shown that they were willing to be vaccinated.
Many high-profile elderly citizens from all walks of life this week publicly took their Pfizer vaccines as part of the efforts to debunk the myths surrounding Covid-19 vaccination.
The move was also steered to motivate more people to go for their shots at various vaccination sites throughout the country.
It was a culmination of the vaccination drive, which kicked off on Monday to mark the second phase of the vaccines rollout for people aged 60 and above.
The 89-year-old Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, who is a vocal supporter for the vaccine, went for his jab on Monday at Brooklyn Chest Hospital in the Western Cape.
Grace Bible Church founder and Presiding Bishop Mosa Sono also got the jab earlier in the week.
Among the top politicians, who received Pfizer shots this week was Minister Blade Nzimande, who got it in Pietermaritzburg in KwaZulu-Natal on Thursday.
Yesterday, the ANC deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte, 67, went to Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital in Soweto to publicly get her Covid-19 vaccine and encourage the mass participation in the vaccination programme.
Jewish community leader Rabbi Stillerman joined a queue of senior citizens at Alexandra community health centre to get his jab.
Speaking to the Pretoria News, Stillerman expressed excitement to be part of the vaccination process.
Although he initially harboured second thoughts about the process, he eventually concluded that it was the right thing to do.
"I also had to think about it but I eventually realised that 'no this is the way to go’," he said.
At the health centre where he was, people around him were "all smiles" and it reminded him of April 27, 1994.
"The spirit of South Africans, all doing it together and again in 2010 during the World Cup," he said.
He described the process as efficient and as the best thing that people must do for themselves.
"The whole of America is getting it and all the leading countries are getting it to protect their citizens against Covid. It is a no-brainer; you just have to do it," he said.
South African Revenue Service commissioner Edward Kieswetter, 63, who also took his shot, said he was a strong advocate for the vaccine and that is why he went for it.
"There is obviously a lot of fake news and a lot of detractors who for whatever reason they have will speak against the vaccine. But there is more than enough evidence to suggest that you are better off with the vaccine than without it," he said.
Kieswetter commented that vaccination would not prevent one from getting the virus "but what it will definitely do is to strengthen your immune system and reduce the risk of you having to contract the virus".
He added that the vaccine would reduce the risk of one becoming ill or hospitalised should he or she contract the virus.
Judge Hans Fabricius from the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria, took to social media to share his experience after vaccine injection.
In the video he posted he encouraged people who are older than 60 and above to take part in the vaccination programme.
"I have just received my vaccine in Pretoria; the first dose of Pfizer without any problem, and not even a waiting time. The whole process was efficient and I encourage everyone over the age of 60 to take the trouble because it is really worth it. It will save your life,"Judge Fabricius said.
Health Minister Zweli Mkhize has described the start of the country's second phase as exciting, saying the government aimed to have vaccinated 16 million people during phase two of the vaccine programme.
There were at least 290 000 people over 60 years in Gauteng, who were said to have registered on the Electronic Vaccination Data System.
It was said that more than 200 000 senior citizens in KZN have registered for the vaccine.
Mkhize said the cumulative number of Covid-19 cases in South Africa as of Thursday was 1 625 003.
“We have said that we are ultimately targeting to use over 3 300 sites by the end of September. We want to have wrapped up our vaccination to all the 250 000 people per day. With the second phase, we are looking at 16 million people to be vaccinated in this process. We’ll be doing the first and second phase. We want our people to be very patient,” Mkhize said this week.
Former chairperson of the Electoral Commission of South Africa Dr Brigalia Bam will on Monday receive her Covid-19 vaccine jab at the FF Ribeiro Clinic, in Sunnyside, Pretoria..
Bam is among the group of senior citizens to heed the government’s call to register on the Electronic Vaccination Data System for their jab. The IEC, in a statement, said Bam will be accompanied by commissioner Dr Nomsa Masuku.