Covid-19: Health dept says 35-49 age group will increase the tempo of vaccination programme

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Over 1.5 million South Africans over 35 years old registered for a Covid-19 vaccine in the first 48 hours.
Over 1.5 million South Africans over 35 years old registered for a Covid-19 vaccine in the first 48 hours.
Brenton Geach
  • Twelve million people in the 35 to 49 age group qualify to be vaccinated.
  • In the first 48 hours after registration opened, 1.5 million people had registered. 
  • The health department, however, is also still focused on vaccinating older residents.

Over 1.5 million South Africans over 35 years old registered for a Covid-19 vaccine in the first 48 hours.

The health department's deputy director-general, Nicholas Crisp, told Newzroom Afrika a million registrations took place in the first 24 hours, followed by 500 000 the next day.

Registration opened for the 35 to 49 age group on Thursday. By Friday afternoon, 5.9 million people had registered for vaccination.

There had also been 21 985 people older than 60 registered in the previous 24 hours.

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The health department had administered 5 046 267 vaccines by Friday afternoon, with 66 307 fully vaccinated against Covid-19.

"It looks like this cohort of younger people are mobilised. They know what they need to do. They're challenging each other on social media. This is extremely encouraging because it's going to increase the tempo of the programme dramatically," Crisp said.

There are 12 million people in the 35 to 49 age group, he added.

Severe

However, the department's main focus remains on older South Africans, who are more vulnerable to developing severe illness.

Crisp hoped the younger age group would encourage their older relatives to be vaccinated.

"We are asking them because they are more mobile and tech savvy, and can take their parents and grandparents with them," Crisp said.

Crisp said the department was also working towards administering vaccines on the weekends.

He added that some organisations had approached the health department, offering to man vaccinations sites on weekends. Health science students could also be utilised to administer weekend vaccinations.

Provinces will be identifying suitable sites for weekend vaccinations, he said.

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