Experts back vaccination as best chance to protect others as COVID numbers grow

16-year-old Ziyaad Benjamin receives a first dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at the Vaccination Centre of Hope at the Cape Town International Convention Centre in Cape Town, South Africa, Wednesday Oct. 20, 2021. South Africa has started giving COVID-19 vaccinations to adolescents aged between 12 and 17 years, with a goal of inoculating at least 6 million people from this age group. (AP Photo/Nardus Engelbrecht)

Health officials in South Africa have been deployed across the country to encourage communities to be vaccinated amid rising COVID-19 infections.

This is part of government’s Vooma vaccination campaign.

The drive will see more pop-up vaccine sites with officials urging the public to get immunised before the festive season.

Many hospitals overwhelmed by COVID admissions have reported that most patients did not get jabbed.

Despite these revelations, many people are still hesitant to get vaccinated, which is why the Vooma campaign is being used to drum up numbers and provide clarity for those with questions.

In just the last 24 hours, over 46,000 people in Gauteng got their jab, followed by the Western Cape’s resident at over 22,000 jabs.

Vaccinations don’t require a booking and those with access to the internet can visit sacoronavirus.co.za to find their nearest site.

Government hopes to get at least 40% of the adult population vaccinated before the festive season.

Meanwhile, Health Minister Joe Phaahla said those who were vaccinated could still get COVID-19 but being fully vaccinated would prevent them from getting severely ill.

Government had hoped to get 70% of the population vaccinated by January but with four weeks to go, just 37% of the eligible population has had the full dose.

Phahla said vaccination was the most reliable weapon against severe illnesses even though it was not a silver bullet.

The North West, meanwhile, is seeing an uptick in the number of people getting vaccinated, especially in the wake of the Omicron variant.