Ramaphosa applauds youth's enthusiasm in getting their Covid-19 vaccines

23 August 2021 - 11:15 By nonkululeko njilo
President Cyril Ramaphosa says young people have been an integral part of the national effort to battle the coronavirus and he is impressed with their enthusiasm to get their jabs. File photo.
President Cyril Ramaphosa says young people have been an integral part of the national effort to battle the coronavirus and he is impressed with their enthusiasm to get their jabs. File photo.
Image: Sumaya Hisham

President Cyril Ramaphosa says young people have been an integral part of the national effort to battle the coronavirus and he is impressed with their enthusiasm in taking their Covid-19 jabs.

This after the national coronavirus command council (NCCC) approved the vaccination of people aged 18 and older last week. This was done earlier than previously planned in a bid to address increasing vaccine hesitancy. The cohort was initially scheduled to get their jabs from September 1.  

“Young people are turning out in impressive numbers to get the Covid-19 vaccine. This fills me with great pride. More than half a million South Africans enrolled on the day that registration for over-18s opened,” Ramaphosa wrote in his weekly newsletter. 

“As I watched young people being interviewed while queuing at vaccination centres, I was impressed by their enthusiasm and excitement. Most of all I was impressed by their knowledge about the vaccine, how it can protect, and why it is necessary.

“I heard young men and women speaking of the need to protect those at risk in their communities.

“I read a post online by a young person urging those who follow her on social media to take heed of the early days of the HIV/Aids pandemic, when young people died unnecessarily because they believed false stories that were then circulating that antiretroviral medication was deadly, or because they disregarded advice to practise safe sex.”

Ramaphosa hailed the group’s maturity, comparing them to the young people who stood in long queues to cast their votes for the first time in 1994.

“The young people of our country are giving us all hope that an end to this time of hardship is within our sights. The maturity that young people have brought to the important task of vaccinating as many South Africans as possible, calls to mind the words of Frantz Fanon, that it is to each generation to discover its mission and fulfil it,” he wrote.

SA has passed the 10-million Covid-19 vaccination mark, but Ramaphosa warned that the country still has a long way to go to reach “herd immunity”.

“Nearly 5-million people are fully vaccinated, which means they have received one dose of the J&J vaccine or two doses of the Pfizer vaccine. But we still have a long way to go. This is where young people come in. We are calling on them to go out and get vaccinated so that we reach our goal. 

“I was not surprised to see young people taking to this task with such determination. Since the pandemic broke out 17 months ago, young South Africans have been an integral part of the national effort to battle the coronavirus,” he said. 

Ramaphosa emphasised the importance of the vaccines amid the pandemic.  

“These vaccines are safe. They work. They don’t affect anybody's performance in any way. Most importantly, they save lives. We must emerge from this health crisis so we can recover and rebuild.”

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