WATCH | Gauteng youngsters come out in numbers for their Covid-19 jabs

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  • Scores of Gauteng youth joined their elders on Friday as the first day of the Covid-19 vaccination roll out for ages 18+ got under way.
  • Elated youth queued at Discovery 1 Place and Gallagher Convention Centre for their jabs.
  • For some, it was a bitter sweet moment, having lost their loved ones to the virus.

"It feels like a privilege now to be able to get it."

These were words of 28-year-old Asbo Ofori-Amanfo who joined hundreds of youngsters in Gauteng to get her Covid-19 vaccine on Friday morning.

News24 visited Gallager Convention Centre in Midrand and Discovery 1 Place building in Sandton, where there were snaking queues filled with young and older people.

READ | Covid-19: Vaccinations open for those 18 and over

This time, elated young adults dominated the queues, eager for their turn to get their doses.

From midnight, everyone aged 18 and older could register on the electronic vaccination data system (EVDS) and get the Covid-19 vaccine by the morning.

In a statement on Thursday, Cabinet announced that all adults would get vaccinated from Friday, News24 reported.

READ | Covid-19: Not a single vaccinated healthcare worker in Limpopo died during third wave - health dept

Ofori-Amanfo said she had been desperate to get her dose, and once the system opened up for them midnight, she immediately registered.

"I think it is really important to get the vaccine because I feel like prevention is better. I have really been scared and have been trying to abide by all the rules. I just think psychologically, it is going to help me a little bit," she said.

She added that the moment was "bittersweet" for her because she had recently lost loved ones to the virus. 

Ofori-Amanfo said:

Obviously, it's good for me, but then to also know that so many have passed away, is a bit emotional. It feels like a privilege now to be able to get it.

Youth, with fashion sense, some clad in their sneakers and hoodies, could be seen stepping out of e-hailing vehicles outside Discovery 1 building to make their way to the queue.

Naledi Matutoani, 22, was with a group and the first thing she pointed when interviewed was being "grateful to finally join the 'rents". 

"'Rents' is the new age shortened version of the word 'parents'."

READ | Covid-19: How do we fix vaccine hesitancy in SA?

Matatoani and Afori-Amanfi said they had luckily not contracted the virus. She said:

"I have been waiting, since the 'rents got vaccinated, and I was really anxious for September 1 to come but really happy that today was the day. I took a day off from work; I was like, I just really want to do it now!" she said.

Matutoani said she was aware that the road to normality would not be easy, but at least the moment was a step in the right direction.

"At least the risk of being hospitalised or dying is [less]," she added.

READ | Unvaccinated Curro teachers may face retrenchment

Previously government announced that 18-year-olds and above would be able to register for the vaccine from 1 September when it made an announcement that 35-year-olds and media personnel below the age could take it. 

News24 previously reported that during a briefing on Friday morning, Health Minister Joe Phaahla said opening the sites to adults from ages 18, would reduce red tape in the vaccination programme, streamline workplace vaccinations, and bring the government closer to its target of vaccinating 70% of the adult population.

READ | Covid-19: Opening vaccination up to the 18+ group will cut red tape, says health department

Matutoani and Afori-Amanfo said they were now looking forward to a different festive season compared to last year's one. 

They said it was important to continue adhering with Covid-19 protocols - sanitising and wearing masks at all times. 

Matutoani said she was happy to be part of slowing the virus down and was hoping for an opportunity to visit her boyfriend's parents overseas later this year. 

The 22-year-old said: "We haven't seen them in two years, just being able having the opportunity to travel open, overseas... Whether it happens or not is also up in the air, but let's see what happens. At least I will be able to go sit in a restaurant or go to a park or something."

If you come across Covid-19 vaccination information that you do not trust, read Covid-19 vaccine myths debunked: Get the facts here. If you can't find the facts you're looking for, email us at the address mentioned in the article and we will verify the information with medical professionals.

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