The National Department of Health will launch a pilot project to transport people to vaccination centres, as government works around the clock to drive up inoculation rates.
“There must be more focus on taking the vaccine to the people, rather than getting people to come to the vaccine,” Health Minister, Dr Joe Phaahla, said at a health briefing on Friday.
According to the Minister, the transportation model will first be tested in Gauteng, the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal.
Phaahla told the media that the goal is to provide transport from high-density population areas to mass vaccination sites in urban areas.
“Details of this will be provided by the three provinces where the trial will be running. In Gauteng, this pilot test will transport people from places like Alexandra and Tembisa to places like the Gallagher Estate in the Midrand, where there is huge capacity and a lot more people [can be vaccinated],” he explained.
Phaahla said government will also prioritise mobile and outreach teams.
He has since called on young people, whom he described as the future of South Africa, to come in numbers to get vaccinated.
This comes after the country has opened up COVID-19 vaccinations to those aged between 18 and 35 years old from today.
“Don’t be confused by fake news, especially doing the rounds on social media. The possibility of liberating ourselves from the clutches of COVID-19 is now in our hands,” the Minister said.
He believes that immunisation is the answer to the re-opening of more economic activities, religious, cultural, and sporting activities.
“Sporting activities with friends in stadiums is a possibility. We have seen that happening in Europe.
“We can have a better last quarter of 2021, better than 2020. We can have a better Christmas and an even better 2022, and all we need now is to take the first step.”
Phaahla also thanked the health workers who are saving lives, and those stationed at vaccination, mobiles and outreach sites.
“These are our heroes and heroines. We also want to thank media houses that have come forward, offering opportunities to communicate the benefits of saving lives and livelihoods through vaccination. Together, we can defeat COVID-19,” he said.