The KwaZulu-Natal Health Department is embarking on an intensive drive to encourage people over the age of 60, in the province’s rural and outlying areas to get vaccinated.

Provincial Health MEC Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu is expected to start at the Charles Johnson Memorial Hospital in Nquthu in northern KwaZulu-Natal.

The department says over 337 000 people have been vaccinated with the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine in the province since the start of the phase 2 roll out.

If healthcare workers who received the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine are added it brings the total to 466 000.

Meanwhile, as the country grapples with the 3rd wave of COVID-19 infections, vulnerable groups in rural communities continue to bear the brunt of already existing challenges including inadequate health resources that have further been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Misinformation and vaccine hesitancy also hamper the vaccine roll out programme for older persons in rural areas.

Research Fellow at Wits MRC/Agincourt Research Unit at the Wits School of Public Health Dr Ryan Wagner says, “What we found recently is that in rural areas there is less of a prevalence of infection, then in urban areas, however there is still substantial risk in rural areas for acquiring or transmitting COVID-19 infections.”

Impact of COVID-19 to vulnerable groups in rural communities:

EFF demand the Chinese, Russian vaccine be approved for use in South Africa

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema says his party will picket outside the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA) headquarters in Pretoria on Friday next week, to demand that the Chinese vaccine and that of Russia be approved for use in South Africa.

He says the delay by government in driving the vaccination process is going to cost a lot of lives.

He was addressing EFF members at the Hoërskool Uitsig in Centurion, Pretoria, commemorating the June 1976 student up-risings.

He says should they not be happy, they will stage a sit-in at the house of SAHPRA CEO, Dr Boitumelo Semete-Makokotlela until their call is heeded.

“After picketing there next week Friday, they have seven days to approve the Russian vaccine and the Chinese vaccine, failure to do so, will do stage sleep in at the house of the CEO of SAHPRA until they protect us, it is personal
like that.

We are going to her house, we want her to approve Sputnik and Chinese vaccine to add on what we have now.”

EFF to demand the approval of the Chinese and Russian vaccines for use in SA: