Covid-19: KwaZulu-Natal to use celebrities to encourage residents to get a vaccine

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A patient receives a vaccineat at Prince Mshiyeni Memorial Hospital in Durban.
A patient receives a vaccineat at Prince Mshiyeni Memorial Hospital in Durban.
Darren Stewart/Gallo Images via Getty Images
  • The KZN Health Department says there's a struggle to get over 60s in previously disadvantaged communities to agree to be vaccinate.
  • The MEC said they would be heading to ground level and even engaging communities "under trees".
  • The province has one of the highest rates of vaccinations among teachers thus far.

The KwaZulu-Natal Health Department says it will go to previously disadvantaged communities and engage with people on the ground as much as possible due to the current low rate of vaccinations among senior citizens in rural areas and townships.

Health MEC Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu on Friday said she would use her influencer programme, which sees prominent celebrities and municipal politicians encouraging people to get vaccinated.

"We will also go to different townships with councillors and mayors and have engagements under trees so they can ask questions directly where they have concerns and clinical issues and we can respond to that.

"We will be visiting churches over the next two Sundays so that we also give them an opportunity to ask us questions. That is meant to target those communities in rural areas and townships."

READ | Ramaphosa 'wants to lock us up again' - Malema slams lockdown regulations, demands vaccines

Simelane-Zulu said they would also embark on other programmes to reach outlying, previously disadvantaged communities, saying:

We will be loud hailing in the rural areas so people know where to go. It is not just hospitals and clinics. We also have vaccination sites in community halls and to address the issue of 60 and above not being able to travel because they do not have the money. The problem might be communicating where they are. We are working on that.

She said that most without medical aid had not registered or vaccinated as much.

"We are talking about people coming from previously disadvantaged communities in townships and rural areas."

ALSO READ | KZN accounts for nearly half of teacher vaccinations, with 22 000 jabs

The MEC refuted claims that there were no vaccination sites in the King Cetshwayo District.

"They are properly organised and are proceeding well with vaccinations."

She said that over two days of vaccinations, almost at 50 000 teachers had been vaccinated in the province.

"We started educators on Wednesday and done above 44 000 in two days excluding today. By the close of today we will be above 60 000 or even 70 000."

Simelane-Zulu said rumours that there were also no vaccination sites in Ladysmith were untrue.

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"It is not true that there are no vaccination sites in Ladysmith, they [teachers and elderly] might not be aware where they area. We also noticed information needs to flow freely. We are working on a way of publicising where it will be.

"If we put posters on social media, we are hoping young people can share that with 60 and above."

Schools

Simelane-Zulu said there were no plans to create more vaccination sites for teachers at schools.

"We are not establishing vaccinating sites everywhere. We have established 69 vaccine sites targeting teachers in the whole province. Teachers will have a schedule of where to go, provided by district offices.

"What we provide is a venue and the vaccines so we will not have sites in every municipality. However, we make sure that every municipality and teacher will know where to go."

She said that while they are not adding sites, they are splitting the use of senior citizen sites.

"What we've also decided is that while we might not add sites, where we have existing sites, and are vaccinating 60 and above seniors, we then make sure we separate those sites where one element that focuses on educators and another that focuses on elderly."

The total number of health workers vaccinated in KZN is 128 561 and people aged 60 and above are 395 780 with teacher vaccinations at 44 733. People aged 60 years and above who are registered on the Electronic Vaccination Data System (EVDS) is 521 541.

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