The Eastern Cape government has embarked on a mass testing and vaccination registration drive for the elderly over the age of 60 years in Nelson Mandela Bay.

Health MEC Nomakhosazana Meth says about 250 000 elderly people have registered for vaccinations across the province. A total of 704 000 people have registered in the Eastern Cape, including healthcare workers for vaccinations. The provincial government is worried about the possibility of a third wave.

Accessibility of vaccination sitesĀ 

There are 23 vaccination sites across the province. The provincial Health Department says it will accommodate the elderly and healthcare workers at all the sites, including those that have not registered or do not appear on the system. The number of registrations is expected to increase in the second phase as the country will be receiving the Pfizer vaccine. The province says 94 000 healthcare workers registered for the Johnson and Johnson vaccine during phase one.

Health MEC Nomakhosazan Meth has urged the elderly to register.

“We are worried about the numbers that are rising and when we look at the statistics it is the people that are coming from the former affluent areas. Our people in the townships are not doing the testing hence we decided we must do the vaccine registration and parallel to that do the testing,” says Meth.

Registration drive in full swing in the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro:

Six testing and vaccination registration sites have been set up across the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro. A handful of old people braved the cold weather and registered. 68-year-old Ntobeko Ndayi registered at the Nangoza Jebe Hall.

“The main interest is the prevention of other sicknesses specifically COVID-19 in order to prevent me and my family members [from being infected],” says Ndayi.

Increase in COVID-19 infections

COVID-19 infection numbers in the province are on the rise. Premier Oscar Mabuyane says they want to contain these numbers to avert the third wave.

“So our numbers are still above 300. Yes, it’s a concern. But we still think the situation is manageable. So we really think we should not call for that stage of shutting down the economy. We are battling to reconstruct our economy to create a conducive environment for it to recover. We are pulling out all stops,” says Mabuyane.

The province has already dispensed the 16 000 vaccinations and the next round of 9 000 have been received and is being readied for distribution and dispensing.

Renewed fears around COVID-19 lockdown as the threat of third-wave looms: