South Africa to vaccinate people near voting stations

Citizens receive COVID-19 vaccine at the Diepsloot Taxi Rank Pop-Up Vaccination Site on September 29, 2021 in Diepsloot, South Africa. This is part of Gauteng government to drive the national vaccination roll-out. (Photo by Luba Lesolle / Gallo Images via Getty Images)
Citizens receive COVID-19 vaccine at the Diepsloot Taxi Rank Pop-Up Vaccination Site on September 29, 2021 in Diepsloot, South Africa. This is part of the Gauteng government to drive the national vaccination roll-out. (Photo by Luba Lesolle / Gallo Images via Getty Images)

The South African government will set up vaccination sites in the vicinity of at least 1,000 voting stations to inoculate people against COVID-19 during November 1 local government elections, said Minister of Health Joe Phaahla on Friday.

The sites will be set up outside the area demarcated strictly for voting so that they don’t interfere with the voting, he told the media in a virtual briefing on the country’s COVID-19 vaccination roll-out.

“We hope that this arrangement will offer convenience in that people will have traveled from their homes and they can achieve both their vote and vaccination in one trip,” Phaahla said. “We welcome the fact that political parties have no problem with this arrangement.”

The government will partner with the private sector to offer free rides to health workers and to award best performing teams of health workers with food vouchers, he said.

Phaahla also announced a 26 million rand (about 1.7 million U.S. dollars) pilot scheme to reward 260,000 people over the age of 60 who receive their first jab in November. Each of them will get a 100 rand supermarket voucher.

As of Thursday, total admissions of COVID-19 patients in the hospital were 3,939, down from 6,173 on the same day last month, while new cases have fallen by 22 percent over the last seven days, with hospitalization declining by 14.5 percent in the last seven days and the death rate reducing by 18 percent, the minister said.