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NW elderly eagerly wait to receive COVID-19 vaccine jab

Written by Nthusang Lefafa

Senior citizens in the North West are anxious to receive their COVID-19 vaccine which comes with hope of surviving the virus.

After registering to receive her COVID-19 jab, Mmane Mogakabe (64), who has diabetes, said she cannot wait to be inoculated  because she has been living in fear since March last year.
“I am happy to have registered for my vaccine jab because I have been living in fear since the first COVID-19 case was announced. I have type two diabetes, hypertension and a chronic heart condition. This means I am at more risk of getting sick from the virus,” she said.
“When the second [phase of the] vaccine rollout was announced my fears were allayed because people with co-morbidities are more susceptible to the the virus,” said Mogakabe, who lives in Itsoseng near Liuchtenburg.

Phase two of vaccination programme

As the nation embarked on its biggest inoculation effort Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize announced on Sunday, during a televised briefing, that 87 sites are ready to open their doors to vaccinate the elderly. Mkhize said government plans to inoculate 5 million senior citizens by the end of June provided there are enough vaccines.
On Monday, North West Health MEC Madoda Sambatha took time to visit health centres in the Dr Kenneth Kaunda and Bojanala districts as part of day one of the second phase of the vaccination rollout in the country.
Mogakabe went on to say that the pandemic has placed a huge burden on her life because her freedom has been restricted and she can no longer go to church or attend funerals of loved ones due to lockdown regulations.
A devout Christian, Mogakabe said she puts her trust in God.

Overcoming registration challenges

Many senior citizens have reported struggling to register on the online system, especially those coming from poor communities who don’t have unrestricted access to the internet.
Grace Mmolawa (64), from Itsoseng, commended the North West provincial health department for ensuring that healthcare workers came to register her on the Electronic Vaccination Data System (EVDS) in the comfort of her own home through an outreach programme.
“I am very happy to be registered and looking forward to being protected from the virus. Since some of us do not have smartphones, government ensured that services came to us and I have received a confirmation SMS. I cannot wait to be vaccinated because the virus has reallly changed our way of life,” said Mmolawa.
A member of the Zion Christian Church (ZCC) Mmolawa said her church has been closed since March last year and she is looking forward to when it will be opened again.
She told Health-e News that she has also not been able to attend funerals of those close to her due to the pandemic.

Positive response to vaccination

Kebabobe Mmileng, a professional nurse and NW health department outreach team leader responsible for bringing healthcare to the homes of vulnerable groups, said the response to vaccine registration has been positive.
“The public has welcomed us into their homes and the elderly have shown a keen interest in the vaccine because they are more vulnerable to becoming ill or dying from COVID-19 complications. Some even come to our homes after hours and asked that we register them on the EVDS,” said Mmileng.
The health department announced that South Africa was expecting  325 260 doses of Pfizer vaccines to arrive on Monday.
This means that as from 17 March, the country now has 975 780 doses of the double dose jab.
According to Mkhize, government will run 83 of the vaccination sites, while four will be in the private sector.
He said his department was hoping to increase these centres to about 200 by the end of the week.
When going for vaccinations, citizens are reminded to take their acceptable documents for identity verification such as ID card or book, drivers licence or passport. – Health-e News

About the author

Nthusang Lefafa