Senior citizens across rural areas that experience poor signal and network connectivity in some parts of Limpopo are worried that they might not be able to register for vaccination.

Residents of several villages under the Blouberg Municipality, west of Polokwane, have not yet registered on the government vaccine programme.

The elderly in Noma-B village in Uitkyk say they are unable to access network and other online tools in order to register.

“We, at Noma-B village, don’t have [strong] network [connection]. If you want to use a phone you must go out and look for [a place where there’s a strong] network [connection], somewhere else even in the bush. I do want to register because I want to [be] vaccinated and I will try by all means to reach my children to register for me. My children once tried to get me registered by going to the local school, when she came back she said the internet was very weak, this area has network challenges,” explains one elderly.

Municipal mayor Maseka Pheedi says the elderly in about 15 villages without a reliable network will struggle to register for the vaccine.

“We are having areas like ward one where you have Lewang and many other villages … [network connection is] totally down in those areas. So the issue of connectivity is a big challenge. The issue of saying people must come and register … I find it very difficult particularly for the elders,” adds Pheedi.

Vaccination of the elderly gets off to a slow start:

Youth urged to help elders with registration:

Earlier this month, Western Cape Health Minister Nomafrench Mbombo called on the youth to assist their elderly relatives with the online registration for COVID-19 vaccination.

Mbombo says about 90 000 health workers have been vaccinated during the Sisonke Johnson and Johnson vaccination trial in the province.

She says there seems to be low registration interest for the 40 000 injections from Pfizer for the elderly in the second phase of the roll-out programme, which started on Monday.