Between 12 000 and 14 000 Ekurhuleni taxi drivers are expected to get vaccinated as the taxi industry COVID-19 vaccination pilot was rolled out last week in Ekurhuleni, Gauteng.
Matsobane Motokolo (48) was one of hundreds of drivers who was vaccinated during the launch the at the Sangweni taxi rank in Thembisa, and is now encouraging other taxi drivers, as well as commuters to get vaccinated.
“I would like to encourage other taxi drivers and the passengers who commute every day to come and do as I did,” said the Sangweni-based taxi driver.
Motokolo also encouraged vaccine hesitant men to ignore the negative sentiment about vaccines.
“We have to change the mindset that if you get vaccinated you will die, because I don’t think the government can organise something that is going to kill us,” he added.
The vaccine rollout targeting taxi drivers is part of the Gauteng provincial government’s COVID-19 vaccination drive to encourage eligible persons to register for vaccination.
According to Jacob Mamabolo, MEC for Roads and Transport in the province, taxi ranks are strategic areas to ensure that taxi drivers get the jab, without needing to travel to a specific vaccination site.
Fears about safety
Taxi drivers previously expressed concern about having to visit vaccine sites due to perceived long queues, as well as fears about the safety of the vaccines when Mamabolo visited the taxi rank on 7 July.
“One of the issues that they raised on that day, was that they were not taking the vaccine or going to vaccination points, because they had a perception of queues being long. Some of them were also concerned about the safety of the vaccinations,” said Mamabolo.
“One of the points that they made was that they work at the taxi rank, they are always here and, therefore, they will not be able to go to the vaccination points, because they have to work,” he added.
The partnership between the Department of Roads and Transport and the Gauteng provincial Department of Health will target at least two taxi ranks per week to vaccinate both taxi drivers and commuters.
“Next week we will do two taxi ranks in a week. We must target taxi ranks to help reach the targets that the premier has set for the province,” added Mamabolo. – Health-e News