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North West Old Age Home residents concerned as planned vaccination is put on hold

The residents at an Old Age Home in Mahikeng, in the North West, are concerned about the postponement of the vaccination of people who are 60 years and older.

The group was meant to be among those who receive their COVID-19 shots when phase 2 of the country’s nationwide programme kicks off on Monday.

However, the North West Provincial Coronavirus Command Council has announced that the first batch of Pfizer vaccines will be used to complete phase 1 of the vaccination drive, which focuses on healthcare workers.

North West Premier, Professor Job Mokgoro, says more announcements will be made in due course.

“The first week of vaccination with Pfizer starting next week on Monday, 17 May 2021, will be focused on healthcare workers who have registered, but not vaccinated yet and those residing in old age homes across the province. All healthcare workers who haven’t yet vaccinated are to get vaccinated this and next week. This, therefore, means that the scheduling of those 60 years old and above will not happen next week but at a time that will be announced in due course,” explains Mokgoro.

With over 317 cases identified in a single 24-hour cycle in the province, some elderly residents say getting vaccinated has become more important than ever.

Rotarus Old Age Home Resident, Komane Morule, says her concerns are exacerbated by the COVID-19 third wave, which has already been declared in Gauteng.

“The third wave is already now on us. Today’s newspaper – I’ve got it in front of me – concerning the third wave, I’ve already read it. I understand. We must just continue to abide by the regulations,” says Morule.

Another Rotarus resident, Gretchen Smit, says it’s high time that citizens are vaccinated against COVID-19.

“We have not yet gotten rid of COVID-19 and we won’t for a long time, I expect that we’re beginning the first phase of the stage three now, and the numbers have risen and I believe some schools have closed in Gauteng already. So I think it’s high time,” Smit says.

Other employees at the retirement home, who are not healthcare workers, say it’s disheartening that they are left out although they work directly with senior citizens.

Rotarus Old Age Home Manager, Elize Botha, says the system disappoints her.

“I feel disappointed. My heart is going out to these people because they are also at risk and as far as we understand, the third wave is really dangerous, and for these people to leave their families and look after the families that are fragile, and then go back and forth, they need to be protected.”

So far, 22 289 healthcare workers in the North West, out of the 40 000 registered for phase 1 of the vaccination programme, have received their shots. The remaining ones, including traditional health practitioners, will be vaccinated next week.

Concerns over the 3rd wave in South Africa: 

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