South African president upbeat about youth’s enthusiasm in getting COVID-19 vaccines

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A health worker receives COVID-19 vaccine in Charlottle Maxeke Academic Hospital in Johannesburg, South Africa, March 2, 2021. As COVID-19 cases decline, South African cabinet eased lockdown restrictions from alert level three to level one, allowing political and religious gatherings, President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Sunday night. (Photo by Matthew Martin Brink/Xinhua)
A health worker receives COVID-19 vaccine in Charlottle Maxeke Academic Hospital in Johannesburg, South Africa, March 2, 2021. As COVID-19 cases decline, South African cabinet eased lockdown restrictions from alert level three to level one, allowing political and religious gatherings, President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Sunday night. (Photo by Matthew Martin Brink/Xinhua)
Spining

South Africa President Cyril Ramaphosa on Monday said he was encouraged by the interest young people have shown in vaccination against COVID-19.

“Young people are turning out in impressive numbers to get the COVID-19 vaccine,” he said in his weekly newsletter. “This fills me with great pride.”

Last Friday, South Africa opened up its vaccination campaign to people aged between 18 and 34. Over 500,000 people enrolled on the day of registration by the age group, Ramaphosa said.

“I heard young men and women speaking of the need to protect those at risk in their communities. I read a post online by a young person urging those who follow her on social media to take heed of the early days of the HIV/AIDS pandemic, when young people died unnecessarily because they believed false stories that were then circulating that antiretroviral medication was deadly,” Ramaphosa said.

More than 10 million jabs have been administered across South Africa, and about 5 million people have been fully vaccinated.

Ramaphosa admitted the country still had a long way to go and urge the youth to go and get vaccinated.

“This is where young people come in. We are calling on them to go out and get vaccinated so that we reach our goal,” he said.

With enough availability of vaccines for August and September but not a lot of people showing up at vaccination centres, health organizations have urged the government to take vaccines to communities, especially in the urban and rural areas.

“Take the vaccine to the people and not the people to the vaccine so that it does not cost people a lot to get vaccine,” Angelique Coetzee, from the South African Medical Association (SAMA), told Xinhua.

South Africa recorded 10,748 confirmed COVID-19 cases on Sunday, bringing its total to 2,690,973, the highest in Africa. Enditem

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