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The Western Cape Health Department has reiterated that taking the COVID-19 vaccine remains voluntary. This follows an anti-vaccination protest outside the Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town. The People’s Health Movement South Africa and Health Justice Initiative have organised the protest. This is in show of solidarity for Cape Town heart surgeon Doctor Susan Vosloo, following her anti-vaccination message.
The department says the vaccines are safe and highly effective. It has urged residents of the province to get information on vaccines from credible sources.
Meanwhile, the protesters claim they are being coerced to take the jab.
A protest against mandatory vaccination is under way outside the Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town. The People’s Health Movement South Africa and Health Justice Initiative have organised the protest.
Western Cape Health Department spokesperson Mark van der Heever says they are aware of the protest. He says hospital security and police are working together to ensure the safety of staff and patients at the hospital.
Government’s vaccination roll-out campaign got off to a slow start, due to a failure to speedily begin talks with pharmaceutical companies. Challenges such as vaccine hesitancy and the difficulty of getting vaccines out to remote areas remain.
However, a Johannesburg University survey shows that vaccine acceptance has improved to nearly three quarters of the country’s 60-million population.
DISCUSSION | Addressing COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy
Age 18+ flock vaccination sites in Gauteng on Friday
Many Gauteng residents over the age of 18 are flocking to vaccination sites across the province to get their COVID-19 vaccines. This is after government announced that those aged between 18 and 34 will be allowed to get vaccinated from Friday.
The vaccination of this age group was only supposed to start on the first of next month. However, the Department of Health said on Wednesday that there were enough vaccines in the country to move the date forward.
South Africans aged between 18 and 34, have welcomed government’s decision to open the COVID-19 vaccinations for their age group – earlier than planned.
Many South Africans over the age of 18 have expressed excitement to finally have the opportunity to get their jab.
“I’m so excited that we finally get to take the coronavirus vaccination. I’ve been waiting a long time for this because it’s really hindering us from going overseas on holidays . You know some jobs need you to take the vaccine. So I’m glad that it’s finally here and I can’t wait to get it. I’m super thrilled to know that the vaccine is available for us over the age of 18 and I can’t wait to take it because that will get me one step closer to the opportunities that come forth, So yeah.”
Analysis | COVID-19 vaccinations opened for 18-year-old and older from Friday