Eastern Cape Health MEC, Nomakhosazana Meth, says the number of elderly people registered to be vaccinated has risen exponentially.
Meth says as of Sunday, the number has risen to more than 174 000, which is 14 000 more than the number that was initially announced by the department.
The MEC says their target is to vaccinate as many as 19 000 people this week as they are awaiting the arrival of more doses.
The elderly in the town of Stutterheim came out in numbers to receive their first dose of the vaccine. This is as the country is facing growing coronavirus cases amidst a looming third wave.
Only Gauteng has declared a third wave of infections in South Africa so far.
The latest coronavirus statistics:
The Eastern Cape province currently has the lowest number of infections and the province is making use of both hospitals and old age homes as vaccination sites. Meth says she is happy to see that people have heeded the call to vaccinate.
“Normally, when you start you get some glitches but I was happy to hear that it started just after ten. I think already we are close to 50 now those who have vaccinated which to me is a great turnout. Even those that did not register are here in numbers to come and say; ‘we want to do this thing,” so we have allowed them. We created a platform for those who never registered in the same facility and then they can come and get their vaccination,” she says.
Meanwhile, the elderly say they are pleased that this day eventually came. “I am pleased that I’ve done it. I thought long and hard about it, now I’m pleased that I’ve done it. I just want to thank everybody and compliment them on the way that they’re handling the whole thing,” says one of the elderly.
The provincial health department says clinics, community halls, and schools will be used as vaccination sites in far-flung rural areas.
Provinces are rolling out the second phase of the coronavirus vaccination programme: