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Camps Bay High School matriculants lead the charge to vaccinate

CAMPS Bay High School matriculants Jules Keohane, Mia O’Dwyer and Drew Goldie Drew have been vaccinated. Picture: Supplied

CAMPS Bay High School matriculants Jules Keohane, Mia O’Dwyer and Drew Goldie Drew have been vaccinated. Picture: Supplied

Published Aug 23, 2021

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CAPE TOWN: While the vaccine roll-out for individuals aged between 18 and 35 is under way, matriculants at Camps Bay High School have taken matters into their own hands, ensuring that they get vaccinated.

Jules Keohane, Mia O’Dwyer and Drew Goldie Drew took the initiative to go to the clinic, and described the moments leading up to their new vaccinated status.

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“There was a general atmosphere of excitement. The staff had an efficient system of keeping everyone socially distanced, as well as keeping the order of people next in line to get vaccinated, and the people working outside where we queued were friendly and helpful. When we got inside and were given a choice to choose the vaccine, we all chose Pfizer.

“My friends and I have been passionate about getting the vaccine since the roll-out began. Although we’re the age group that’s the least at risk of suffering badly from Covid-19, we are still part of the population and, therefore, can make a contribution to herd immunity. Getting the vaccine feels, to me, like a duty. It is something that extends beyond the well-being of yourself. It is a little sign around your neck saying to the older, and more vulnerable people in our society ’we see you. We value you. We don’t want you to die’,” said Keohane.

With vaccine hesitation and many vaccine theories circulating, Keohane said that she’s never had any vaccination hesitations since her family and her have great trust in science.

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“My parents have strong faith in science, but they also have powerful values of contributing to make the world a good and safe place for every person. My teachers aided in helping me understand what exactly the vaccine is, and my biology teacher, especially, helped me understand the science of what is happening inside your body when you get vaccinated. It was also encouraging to see my teachers getting vaccinated a few months prior to registration opening up for us.

“Getting the vaccine feels like a powerful and historic moment, and I feel that it is an opportunity that all young people should seize. We can all feel good knowing that we’ve contributed to making our world a safer and healthier place for everyone. And in the end, I feel you will learn a valuable lesson, as I have after getting vaccinated, one of the big truths of life: it’s not about you. Be selfless. Get vaccinated,” said Keohane.

Department of Health spokesperson Mark van der Heever said not only has the response to vaccination been well received, but it also enables the department to scale up vaccinations in the future.

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“When the registration for the age bracket opened on Friday there was a greater demand for vaccination. This is a positive sign for the vaccination programme as it means more people want to be protected against severe illness.

“On Friday, 53 290 people came for vaccination – this is the highest number of people vaccinated on a single day. Then, again on Saturday, 15 000 vaccinations were administered, making it also the single highest total achieved on a Saturday.

“This comes at a good time, as we are no longer experiencing the restriction in the number of vaccines, but are now in the fortunate position to be able to scale up the numbers of vaccinations going forward,” said Van der Heever.

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Given the fact that Covid-19 still poses the greatest threat to the elderly, the department urges people to come along with their family members to get vaccinated.

Steps to register for the vaccine are as follows:

– Visit: https://vaccine.enroll.health.gov.za/#/ (the link can also be found on www.westerncape.gov.za);

– Dial *134*832# and follow the prompts (FREE on all South African Networks); and

– WhatsApp the word REGISTER to 0600 123456.

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