The COVID-19 vaccine roll-out plan in the Free State has been met with mixed reactions by residents of Mangaung. Some residents are in support of government’s plan to combat the coronavirus while some have questioned the safety of the vaccine.

The Free State Health Department has announced that 47 vaccination sites have been identified for the first phase of the roll-out.

Residents have mixed views.

“These people are doing the things they hide their things behind our back the next thing they want us to get involved,” one says.

“I don’t have a problem, just concerned about the situation of the country right now, not just the country,  the whole world,” added another resident.

“Honestly I won’t take it because it’s scary I don’t know what it contains.  And the worst part if they can only tell us the side effects of it and the process of them injecting it to us,  for now, I don’t think I will be taking it. It’s risky to take, I think,” says another.

The Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (Denosa) in the Free State has rejected the vaccine roll-out plan decrying lack of consultation.

“We have tried our level best to engage with the authorities of health to give us a plan as to how the vaccine is going to be rolled-out and also to be trained so that we can be able to know its side effects and what then we must do when such arises,” says Thibogang Thole, the chairperson of Denosa in the province.

The provincial chairperson of National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu), Moeketsi Napo, says the union welcomes the vaccine roll-out.

“We welcome the announcement made by Minister of Health Zweli Mkhize that the vaccine will arrive in the country by 1 February 2021. We are making a call that health workers must be prioritised in terms of vaccination.”

Meanwhile, Free State Health says it is quite happy with the processes of consultation. Spokesperson Mondli Mvambi says they have been working on a survey.

“We have been working on a survey right now just to test the readiness of healthcare workers to vaccinate, why they want to vaccinate, even those that say they don’t know whether they should vaccinate or not. We want to know why so that we can work on those areas that are grey so that we can clarify people. We can work against and handle the myths, wrong information that has been fed. Wrong information and miss information that has been fed to people.”

Minister of Health Dr Zweli Mkhize on vaccine roll-out in South Africa: