KZN launches vaccine roadshows as Covid-19 infections rise
KwaZulu-Natal health authorities have launched a series of provincewide roadshows to drum up public support for vaccination against Covid-19, as infections rise.
Provincial health MEC Nomagugu Simelane launched the first of the roadshows at Durban's Moses Mabhida People’s Park on Tuesday.
The province's education MEC Kwazi Mshengu was one of those vaccinated as part of the provincial influencers roadshow.
A team of influencers, made up of “district champion MECs, heads of department, amakhosi, mayors, celebrities, business leaders, religious leaders, traditional leaders, traditional healers, and other influential sectors of society,” will be visiting 11 districts to promote the vaccination programme.
“For phase 2 of the vaccination programme, which started on May 17, we have established 171 vaccination sites across the province. We have since vaccinated 78% of healthcare workers in the public sector, as well as 72% of the healthcare workers who work in private hospitals. This amounts to 124,091 health workers who have been vaccinated, while we are left with just 38,051 to vaccinate,” Simelane said.
Over 254,090 senior citizens aged 60 and above have been vaccinated.
“We are inching closer and closer to achieving our target of 955,048 senior citizens by the end of phase 2. All in all, the number of people who have been vaccinated stands at 388,353, including those from the Sisonke Implementation Study,” Simelane said.
Simelane said the number of Covid-19 cases was climbing in the province.
“For instance, the actual number of new cases were 726 for week 21 and 900 for week 22 respectively. There is also evidence of our Covid-19 hospital beds having more patients than they have had in the past few months.
“We currently have 483 Covid-19 patients with 403 in the private sector and 80 in the public sector,” Simelane said.
On Sunday the province registered 167 new cases, bringing the overall number of confirmed cases to 34,1023.
“There was one new death, which brought the overall number of fatalities to 10,535.”
She said in light of the figures, it was vital that the public tighten their protocols.
“There is evidence all around us that now is not the time to be casual. Instead, it is the time for us to buckle up, and strictly apply all the non-pharmaceutical interventions, such as the correct wearing of masks, regular washing of hands with soap and water or hand sanitiser, and maintaining social distancing. This should apply even to people who’ve been vaccinated,” Simelane said.
“This is a programme where we are trying to get our influencers, those people that actually have a standing in society, to come and partner with us as a department of health so we are able to get our people to be vaccinated. We realise that the majority of our people, particularly those that live in townships and rural areas, have not registered. So we needed to get a buy-in and to get the influencers to assist us to try to get our 60 and above to come and get vaccinated.
“We have agreed that they will use every platform available to them to champion the benefits of vaccination — from social and traditional media, to meetings, and every stage that they have access to,” Simelane said.
She was confident that this approach would be effective.