More than 1.5 million South Africans between the ages of 35 and 49 have already registered for their COVID-19 vaccination. The Department of Health says that more than a million people registered on Thursday last week alone.

Twelve million people within this age group qualify for the vaccine. The Department of Health says they have already administered more than 5 million vaccinations and that almost 1.7 million citizens are now fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

It says the vaccination programme is going on smoothly and is well on track to reach its targets. On Thursday last week, registrations opened for the 35 to 49 age group and by the weekend – more than 5.9 million people in total had already registered.

“We are very happy that in the first 24 hours there were more than a million people registered on the system and in the second 24 hours they were just on 500 000, so it’s 1.5  million people in two days which is rather pleasing. That means that we have a lot of 60-year-olds, 60+, 50 to 59 and now 35 to 49s that are registered on the system. We are very happy that it is going well,” says the Department’s Nicholas Crisp.

Crisp says the government is receiving vaccines on a weekly basis and they currently have stock to last more than 14 days.

“We get vaccine deliveries from abroad on a regular basis up to now it’s been weekly and we hope it will continue like that, so we have at the moment enough as I’ve included in the deliveries that came over the weekend. We have enough vaccines in the country for about another 14 days at the current rate of vaccination and hopefully, within that 14 days more vaccines arrive and we’re able to just keep ahead of the game.”

Effect of unrest on vaccination programme

However, due to the recent unrest in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng, he says vaccination sites in both provinces were severely affected.

“KwaZulu-Natal got quite a bad knock and parts of Gauteng there were stations that were adversely affected, the immediate effect is that people who would have been vaccinated on those days when there was violence obviously couldn’t be vaccinated because they couldn’t get there and staff couldn’t get there and intimidation and threats to their lives and so forth. That was the immediate loss which is probably in the order of 50 000 vaccinations per day as missed opportunities, so that was during the course of last week between the two provinces.”

Registration process 

Many citizens who registered for the vaccine say the process was quick and easy. 35-year-old Lance Perumal says he is eagerly awaiting to be injected.

“ I did find it easy and a straightforward process to register. We do find our country in a very dismal and bleak situation at the moment with the economy struggling. So I think people who are able to register for the vaccine should do it and take the vaccine because it is the right thing to do and in the long run, it will help the economy if we can curb the spread of COVID-19 and the sooner we do it then it will be better for us in the long run.”

Some still skeptical 

However, a number of people are skeptical about getting vaccinated. Johannesburg resident Ronald Pillay, says he still is not sure if the vaccine is safe to take.

“ I am very skeptical about taking the vaccine at the moment because I have seen a lot of stories going around on social media about the negative effects of taking the vaccine and what it could do in the long run. I just had my first child about a year ago and I might want to have one in the future so with all the stories going around I am very skeptical about taking the vaccine and I also heard of people passing after taking the vaccine so I will not register until I feel it’s safe to take this vaccine.”

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