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KZN health MEC: uMkhanyakude has reached its Covid-19 vaccination target for over 60 age group

KwaZulu-Natal Health MEC Nomagugu Simelane has said the uMkhanyakude District in the province has reached the target it had set for vaccinating people aged 60 and above against Covid-19.

The MEC said these are “exciting” and “surprising” as well as “strange” news considering that the district is largely rural, adding that this shows that the elderly from the district are going out to get vaccinated.

Simelane encouraged people from the district to continue with responding positively to calls to vaccinate, adding that the provincial health department has faith that as its vaccine rollout programmes continue, the number of people who vaccinate will increase as well as the pace of rolling out vaccines.

Media reports that surfaced following the civil unrest that rocked parts of the province in July that 29 people died shortly after receiving their Covid-19 vaccinations contributed to the vaccine hesitancy witnessed since, Simelane said.

The South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (Sahpra) has since confirmed that there was no evidence that these deaths were linked to Covid-19 vaccines, Simelane said, encouraging people to get vaccinated because that is currently the best solution.

Simelane said 60% of the population aged above 60 in the province have been vaccinated.

ALSO READ: Ramaphosa asks Rev Kenneth Meshoe to stop quoting Bible verses to advance ‘anti-vaxx’ stance

Meanwhile, responding to a supplementary question by Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) MP Naledi Chirwa during a question and answer session in the National Assembly (NA) on Friday, President Cyril Ramaphosa agreed with the EFF MP that the government’s communication to promote Covid-19 vaccines is not moving at an acceptable pace, is “not living up to the objectives I wanted” and is insufficient.

The president said efforts are being made to increase the number of vaccines administered on a daily basis, adding: “We need to up the tempo, the actual increase of numbers when it comes to that.”

Ramaphosa further said messages promoting vaccines tailored for certain age groups and genders are being conceived and that it was hoped that these would also reach anti-vaxxers.

The government is committed to upping the tempo on communicating messages that promote vaccines, Ramaphosa said, adding that he, too, has been roped in to play a role in spreading the message that people must get vaccinated.

ALSO READ: Government will consider making proof of vaccination certificates mandatory

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