The Eastern Cape government is concerned about the low turnout of the elderly for vaccinations in remote rural areas. Ngqeleni area in the Nyandeni municipality has a low rate of registration.

Although government launched a massive awareness campaign in rural and urban areas, the elderly say difficulties in the registration process have put them off.

The third wave has not hit the Eastern Cape yet, but numbers are rising.

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In spite of the struggle to register, the elderly in the Ngqeleni area want to be vaccinated.

Some of the elderly say: “We wish they would fast-track this vaccination because we know people who died from the virus. As elders, we at risk and want them to come and vaccinate us here. We hope they will come before the end of next month.”

“I hope they will quickly vaccinate us because we don’t know where we stand. We want to be vaccinated and be done with it.”

“Everyone knows about the virus, we wear masks at church and funerals, we were registered but no one has come to vaccinated us.”

The Provincial Health Department has 3000 community health workers assisting with the registration process. They’ve also roped in workers from the expanded public works project to assist.

Spokesperson Sizwe Khuphelo says they are trying their best.

“We are trying our level best to get to the rural areas, we started with fewer vaccination sites. We have since increased the vaccination sites in the public sector to 83 from 23. Our intention is to establish 1800 vaccination sites across the province, we are working with NGOs that going to deep areas for both registration and vaccination.”

People who are struggling to register are now allowed to access vaccination sites and do not need to wait for the registration confirmation.