Health MEC Nomathemba Mokgethi urges residents to get vaccinated on weekends
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Pretoria - In a bid to scale up the country’s Covid-19 vaccination programme targets, residents have been urged to make their way to any of their nearest vaccination sites which are now operating over the weekend.
The plea was made by Health MEC Dr Nomathemba Mokgethi during a visit to the Olivenhoutbosch and Atteridgeville vaccination sites over the weekend.
Mokgethi said after realising that many people were unable to make it through to vaccination sites during the week due to work and other commitments, the province had decided to open sites across Gauteng on weekends.
She said eight sites in four of Tshwane’s districts had been opened and decided to operate during the weekend to ensure that as many people as possible received the vaccine.
“One of the residents I spoke to said he was happy that vaccination would now be open during the weekend as he was unable to make it during the week due to his job involving a lot of travelling. So we hope such people will be able to canvass for us and encourage others to come.”
She said Ekurhuleni had started with vaccinations last weekend and would continue to do so in the coming weeks.
Mokgethi said they had also picked up on reports that there were low numbers of men in the province reporting for vaccination, save for the East Rand area, which was doing well.
In light of this, she said they would continue to use social media platforms as well as faith-based organisations to encourage and urge more men to get vaccinated.
Although there were challenges experienced in vaccination efforts for persons 60 and above due to at lack of transport, Mokgethi said this had partly been resolved with the intake of the 40 to 49 cohort.
“Since we opened up the vaccination for other age groups, we have found that they now bring their elderly parents to vaccinate alongside them, and we hope this will ensure that more elderly are protected from this virus.”
Mokgethi said in Sedibeng, vaccinations of the elderly had also experienced a few setbacks as aggrieved youngsters would not inform the elderly of the messages sent by the department of their vaccination dates.
As a result, she said the department had opened two additional sites and sent support staff from the World Health Organisation to work there alongside the National Department of Health.
Following the intervention, she said they had seen a huge improvement in the vaccination programme in that area over the past weeks.
“Illness comes for everyone, so I’ve been taking lemons and other fruits to boost me, but I feel much safer and confident now that I’ve gotten my vaccine. I urge other men to get vaccinated so that we can beat this virus and get our lives back to some form of normal,” said Olivenhoutbosch resident Isaac Mone soon after receiving his jab.
Resident Gladness Vundla said she had been anxiously awaiting her turn to get the vaccine as they had witnessed a lot of people dying from the virus last year, and she had even tested positive for the virus herself.
“I would urge more people to get vaccinated because it is better to be safe than sorry. If someone says they are not getting vaccinated, what will save them from this?”
Vundla said she was not surprised that men were not reporting for vaccination as they were known to be reluctant in taking care of their health.
“We need more men to vaccinate because women can't fight this thing alone.
“If they don't stand up, they will continue to put all of us at risk of contracting and spreading this virus.”