Gauteng government takes vaccination drive to SASSA queues

“We’ve been using vaccines for years. I don’t understand why people are afraid of this vaccine” says Soweto pensioner

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Members of the Hillbrow Community Health Centre checking if pensioners in the queue have received the Covid-19 vaccine. Pensioners braved icy cold conditions as they stood in line outside Marshalltown Post Office to collect their grants. Photo: Masego Mafata.

Some pensioners collecting their South African Social Security (SASSA) grants at Maponya Mall on Tuesday were transported to the Grace Bible Church in Soweto to be vaccinated.

This was part of the Gauteng government’s launch of its Covid-19 mobile vaccination drive in Tshwane, Ekurhuleni and Johannesburg this week. It comes as Gauteng has sometimes diagnosed over 10,000 new cases of the virus a day recently.

Kwara Kekana, spokesperson for the Gauteng Department of Health, said, “The drive is aimed at assisting all eligible persons to get vaccinated near their places of residence or work.”

On Tuesday, Thandeka Lebotse, site manager at the Grace Bible Church vaccination site said, “We started vaccinating teachers on 23 June. Today, we vaccinated about 25 people over the age of 60.” Lebotse said the number of people coming to get vaccinated had slowed down but she is confident that eligible people will keep coming to get vaccinated.

In Marshalltown, a team from the Hillbrow Community Health Centre spoke to grant recipients about the Covid-19 vaccine and registration process outside the Post Office. Pensioners willing to get vaccinated were transported to vaccination centres to register and receive their jab. Most of the pensioners we spoke to outside the post office had already received their first dose of the Pfizer vaccine.

“The vaccine is free and it protects us. We’ve been using vaccines for years. I don’t understand why people are afraid of this vaccine,” said pensioner Jane Mudau, who was waiting outside the post office.

Thomas Peters, 69, from Soweto said it was important for people to get vaccinated if they qualify and urged people to ignore misinformation about vaccines. “Before you get vaccinated, you are asked about any illnesses that you have and you must tell the truth. I have underlying illnesses but I got vaccinated and I am fine,” he said.

In Newtown, Clicks in partnership with the government, is running a mobile vaccination site at Cambridge Food in the Newgate centre. “We received about 300 vaccines and we are accepting all eligible people for vaccinations,” said an employee working at the mobile site.

Phinias Zulu, 62, a security guard working at Cambridge was among the first at the site to be vaccinated. “I didn’t know I could walk into any centre and get vaccinated,” he said.

Employees said this mobile site will be open again on Wednesday, 7 July, and walk-ins are welcome.

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TOPICS:  Covid-19 Health Sassa

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