By Ashley Malepe
The south African national government confirms vaccine registrations for members of the public between the ages of 18-34 to start ahead of time on the 20th of August 2021. This decision was made after the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC) delivered recommendations to Cabinet suggesting that vaccine registration be made more widely available to the South African public considering positive efforts to speed up the distribution of jabs.
“As part of increasing the vaccination roll-out programme, Cabinet approved the vaccination of persons aged between 18 years and 35 years from 20 August 2021,” Cabinet said.
Furthermore, to achieve herd immunity, the vaccine rollout programme must be expanded and inclusive to the larger population which is what the Cabinet is trying to achieve. Nelson Mandela University has been participating in the programme towards herd immunity as it has prepared vaccination sites both at Gqeberha and George to offer services to the general public, staff and the university’s 29 000 students.
Despite the COVID-19 vaccination hesitancy, young people in South Africa are turning up in numbers to get vaccinated out of the desire to resume normalcy and to protect those most vulnerable around them. As of the 23rd of August, Nelson Mandela University Summerstrand site managed to vaccinate a total of 356 young people, with 178 being the university’s students. George campus vaccination site which is part of the Harry Comay Hospital outreach agreement that operates every Tuesday, managed to vaccinate more than 50 students.
“It has been great to see the turnout of students these last two days, especially since we got sense that there wasn’t a great appetite for vaccination from a recent survey we conducted,” said Sr Althea Hawkins, Nelson Mandela University Student Health Service.
Among the students who decided to get vaccinated is Pontsho Hlongwane, Student Representative Council (SRC) president, Pontsho encourages and urges students and young people to actively fight against the spread of COVID-19. “My vaccination is therefore part of my unwavering commitment to the fight against COVID-19. I would like to encourage all students to come to the vaccination site.”
Erin Harty, BA student decided to get vaccinated because she would want to be able to travel for sporting commitments. “I do not worry about what side effects I may get, but this is important to me because I want to travel overseas, as a community, if we want to return to ‘normal’, we need to get vaccinated.” Erin said.
Nelson Mandela University Summerstrand vaccination site is open Monday-Thursday, from 09:00-14:00 and Fridays from 09:00-12:00. George vaccination site is open only on Tuesdays from 09:00-14:00. Visit: https://vaccine.enroll.health.gov.za/ to register for the vaccine.