We all need to play our part in crucial vaccination drive

Amatola Haven Old Age Home and Retirement Village resident Marion Krause, 61, is vaccinated by sister Lungiswa Ngwama.
Amatola Haven Old Age Home and Retirement Village resident Marion Krause, 61, is vaccinated by sister Lungiswa Ngwama.

It is encouraging to see at least some of the Eastern Cape’s seniors putting their faith in the Covid-19 vaccine. Many are responding to calls to come forward and vaccinate during phase two of the programme which kicked off this week. The Dispatch has recorded them coming to vaccination sites in taxis, wheelchairs, and walkers — but they are getting there with determination and purpose.

The department has also undertaken to visit care facilities for seniors to ensure that as many as possible get vaccinated and soon.

People over the age of 60 who enjoy prominent public positions have also led the way in the vaccination process. They are giving it the most resounding endorsement they can, simply by stepping forward and having their vaccinations done in public spaces for all to see. In Makhanda this included judges, city leaders and traditional health practitioners. Their message was clear: the vaccination is safe and probably the most important tool in our scant medicinal cupboard to successfully fight this devastating pandemic.

Many, including this publication, have been rightly critical of the way in which government has got the vaccination process off the ground. It continues to limp along at an extraordinary snail's pace.

But protecting the citizenry is not just up to government. As the vaccination pace picks up, citizens need to play their part too. They need to register for the vaccine and show up to be vaccinated at the nearest site when they receive the call to do so.

To date, only about 1.2m people out of a targeted five million seniors have registered to be vaccinated in phase two which is scheduled to close at the end of June. It is not yet entirely clear how government intends to vaccinate more than five million people in just 45 days. It will require vaccinating more than 100,000 people a day — and it is currently way off this target.

But, after 14 long months of battling this pandemic we also know there are other ways we can reduce the chances of infection.

Wearing masks, sanitising, and social distancing wherever possible are all ways in which we can exercise self-care and care for those we love.

The last thing we can afford now is another restrictive and economically devastating government-imposed lockdown to control infection rates.

So be sensible and self-regulate. And please sign up to be vaccinated.


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