The Department of Health in Gauteng has had to develop more innovative strategies as people in the most populous province in the country have not been showing up at vaccination sites to get their jabs.
Gauteng is trailing behind the more rural provinces such as Limpopo and the Eastern Cape when it comes to vaccinating its citizens. According to statistics, the Eastern Cape has the highest number of adults vaccinated in the country at 32.84%. Limpopo managed to vaccinate 31.79%, and the Free State has also had high vaccination turnouts with 30.24% of its adult population getting the jab.
Meanwhile, Gauteng has only managed to vaccinate 25% of all adults in the province. The province aims to vaccinate at least 10 million people by December 2021.
Since the pandemic started in 2020, 19 102 people have died in the province. Currently, there are 2 665 hospitalized in the province. Kwara Kekana, spokesperson for the Gauteng Department of Health says this has led the province to try new ways to persuade people to get the jab.
The department started setting up pop-up sites at taxi ranks, workplaces, and other places where people congregate to bolster vaccination rates. Kekana says from these events, they realised that hesitancy was brought on by several factors, including widespread fake news, concerns about the side effects of the vaccines, and inadequate information.
Professor Alex van den Heever, a health and social security expert, says it is not easy to determine why Gauteng is not attracting as many people for vaccination as the other provinces.
The pop-up sites have been working and Kekana said they were, “… encouraged by the figures”. The department has managed to administer more than a million doses from the end of August to date.
The department is now moving the vaccination drive to people’s doorsteps. They have now started door-to-door campaigns for inoculation. The provincial sports department on Saturday, will host a vaccination event at Altitude Beach in Fourways, where artists like Prince Kaybee and Lamiez Holworthy will be performing.
Kekana says: “The provincial government has been engaged in a drive to take the vaccines to where people are, and this forms part of those efforts to increase the number of sites, and have more sites in communities apart from the non-clinical sites.”
Gauteng has only administered around four million Covid-19 vaccine doses to approximately three million people.