North West allows walk-ins for this phase of Covid-19 vaccinations

17 May 2021 - 10:27
By naledi shange AND Naledi Shange
Some North West residents haven't registered for Covid-19 vaccines because of network challenges, says the province's health department. Stock photo.
Image: 123RF/Sam74100 Some North West residents haven't registered for Covid-19 vaccines because of network challenges, says the province's health department. Stock photo.

A door-to-door campaign aimed at assisting registration for Covid-19 vaccinations will be rolled out in the North West this week as the province tries to bolster registrations for the life-saving jabs.

Health MEC Madoda Sambatha said: “This [door-to-door campaign] is because some of our communities do not have access to network. For instance, there are areas that are bordering Botswana where when you get there, predominately it is a Botswana network [that is available], not a South African network.” 

Without a South African network, residents could not link to the free online portal to register on the country's database for vaccination. 

As the second phase of the Covid-19 vaccinations begins on Monday, Sambatha said walk-ins of people over the age of 60 hoping to get the Covid-19 vaccine would be allowed in their facilities.

Though walk-ins were allowed, he called on people to assist the elderly in registration or for them to go to health facilities to request assistance. The province was also hosting outreach-based registration programmes.

“This means at the house of traditional leaders, and closest traditional offices to communities, will do registrations so that the number of those registered must keep growing,” Sambatha said.

The province was relying heavily on the assistance of traditional leaders.

“When you give word to a traditional leader, it is a word that people believe in,” said Sambatha.

The North West will have five vaccination sites operating on Monday and these would be increased to 20 before the end of the week.

The province has so far received 19,000 vaccines for the start of the next phase of vaccinations.

Meanwhile, in the Western Cape, health MEC Nomafrench Mbombo on Sunday said the province had vaccinated more than 93,000 health workers in both the private and public sector. The remaining medics would be vaccinated this week. 

Mbombo said their plan was to focus on vaccinating the elderly in the metros this week and then shift to the rural areas next week.

Currently, the province had 274 vaccination sites, with 270 located in the metros and four being in the rural areas. 

The province had trained more than 3,000 vaccinators while about 5,000 had volunteered, 

“In regards to the registration, out of the 720,000-plus older people that are in the Western Cape, about 226,000 have registered. That makes it about 30% of the population,” she said. 

Archbishop Desmond Tutu and his wife Leah are among the elderly citizens who will be vaccinated in the Western Cape on Monday. File photo.
Image: Esa Alexzander Archbishop Desmond Tutu and his wife Leah are among the elderly citizens who will be vaccinated in the Western Cape on Monday. File photo.

“And when we split that according to every district, we find that the metros have about 29% registration and the one district that has registered the most is Overberg, at 51%.”

The province said what the first phase of the rollout had taught them was the power of “vaccination envy”. 

“The face of the leaders, especially the faith-based, are the ones we want to encourage and make use of them so that it will reduce the element of vaccine hesitancy,” said Mbombo. 

“Lessons learnt from phase 1 is vaccine envy, when you see other people are getting vaccinated, [and get motivated to do the same]. That is why we are excited that Archbishop Desmond Tutu and his wife will be vaccinated along with other religious leaders as we kick-start our vaccination on Monday.”

She called on more elderly people to register and get vaccinated during this time. 

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