Joburg mayor Mpho Moerane’s kids take the vaccination lead as Gauteng’s jab roll-out lags
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Johannesburg - Gauteng is lagging behind insofar as reaching its vaccination target of 70% by December, which could result in the province moving to a different lockdown level.
By yesterday, only 33.4% of citizens had been vaccinated. The Gauteng Health Department yesterday released figures that show that out of just more than 11.3 million people in Gauteng, only more than 2.7 million have been fully vaccinated.
It said a total of 5,6 million vaccinations have been administered, with 3.7 million people receiving one dose of either J&J or Pfizer.
No figures have been made available for the 12 to 17-year-olds after vaccination opened for them on Wednesday.
Johannesburg mayor Councillor Mpho Moerane and his wife, Fikile, yesterday accompanied their children,12 and 16, to get vaccinated in the hopes of encouraging other young people to get their jabs.
Moerane said while the vaccination rate has slowed, particularly in townships, he is hopeful that more people will heed the call.
“The fourth wave is coming in November/December, and if we don’t reach our vaccination targets, the president might have to move us to another level,” he warned.
Moerane said of particular concern is the low vaccination rates in Soweto and Orange Farm.
“We should have been at 60% by now. We have exams coming up, and we cannot have school disrupted again. Our economy needs to be rebuilt, and the only way we can achieve this is if we are all vaccinated,” he said.
The mayor again reminded citizens that vaccines are safe and save lives.
”Government would never take chances by giving people and especially our children vaccines that have not been tested. The vaccines have been tested. They work.” he said.
Speaking on behalf of his children, Moerane said they wanted to join the millions of South Africans who have been vaccinated not only to protect themselves, but also their family and friends.
“My children had Covid-19 last year. They don’t ever want to experience it again. Their lives were put on hold. They have and are encouraging their peers to heed government’s call for everyone to get vaccinated,” he said.
Moerane said the fear around vaccination is real, for young and old, and he hopes that by the example his children have set, people will change their minds.
“My kids will now go back and tell their friends who are scared that there’s nothing to be scared of. You want to write your exams. You want to help rebuild our economy. Let’s all help to get the figures up,” Moerane pleaded.
Saturday Star spoke with some young people who have decided to get vaccinated, and for them, the decision was a no-brainer.
Sixteen-year-old Omphile Dibate, who is in Gr 10, said she wants to get her life back. “I have seen what the vaccine can do. It will not only keep me safe but also everyone around me. It has done more good than bad. I would definitely encourage everyone to get vaccinated,” she said.
Classmate Zinhle Echezona said she plans to get vaccinated very soon, so that she can be her healthiest self.
“As soon as I am done with my exams, I will go get vaccinated. It’s a good idea. I will stay healthy, and more importantly, I will get my life back,” she said.
Moerane also used the opportunity to encourage residents at the Alexandra Community Healthcare Centre in Wynberg to get their jabs.