Johannesburg – When phase one of the vaccination rollout kicked off in February, with healthcare workers in the frontline of receiving the jab, there was much jubilation.
Despite the many challenges and non-healthcare workers jumping the queue, there was an air of optimism. Who better to kick-off the mass vaccination programme than the people who are at the coalface of fighting the virus?
Social media was abuzz with pictures of doctors, nurses getting their shots.
Some even went in their scrubs and nurses uniforms.
Stethoscopes hung around the neck for some. It was a beautiful moment, bringing so much hope to a nation that has been in a state of anxiety due to the devastating impact of Covid-19 on daily life.
Now, we have come to the trickiest part of the vaccination rollout ; age being the magic word to give you access to the jab.
The spotlight is now on pensioners. Oh, our sisters, brothers, mothers, fathers, grandmothers, grandfathers, great-grandmothers and great-grandfathers freezing in the cold … Oh, what a sombre sight.
Slam bang in the thick of winter, nurses have to peel through layers of clothing to administer the jab.
The sight of Uggs, walking sticks and wheelchairs has taken our panic rate to fi rst-wave levels.
And the vaccination of teachers this week did litt le to lift our spirits because we cannot get the images of blankets around the waists, doeks, beanies, shawls, mitt ens, coats and fi ve pairs of socks out of our minds. And as expected, the numbers of 60+ showing up for vaccines has been rather lower than expected.
Though walk-ins are now welcomed and have helped, it still a long way to meet our national target of vaccinating 67% of the population by the end of the year.
This week, the government announced the vaccination of those who are 50 and above to the mix. Good luck!
Age only works when you are dispersing grants, jumping the queue of a long line at the post offi ce or government office – not for a once-in-a life-time pandemic, which has been the source of so much misinformation and blunders.
Can we fast-forward to vaccinating at least 350 000 adults a day. In South Africa, the youth is defi ned as anyone between the ages of 14 and 34.
The rest, according to this defi nition, who are over 34 are adults. It would be a lot quicker when we just ask adults to get the jab.
And, as adults, we will bring the elderly along.
Come on, lets focus on the vaccination target of 350 000 people a day because that will get us out of this rut in the shortest possible time – that’s if other vaccine acquisition blunders do not stymie our efforts.
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