Makhura notes increase in vaccine hesitancy in wake of J&J jab suspension

Only about 235,000 residents have registered for phase two of the country's vaccine rollout out of an expected 1.3 million people.

Gauteng Premier David Makhura went on a walkabout at the Wits RHI in Hillbrow, Johannesburg, on 20 April 2021. He was joined by Gauteng health MEC Nomathemba Mokgethi. Picture: Xanderleigh Dookey/Eyewitness News.

JOHANNESBURG - The Gauteng Command Council said that there had been increase in vaccine hesitancy across the province following the temporary suspension of the Johnson & Johnson vaccination programme.

Only about 235,000 residents have registered for phase two of the country's vaccine rollout out of an expected 1.3 million people.

South Africa suspended the rollout in line with recommendations from the US after six people developed a rare type of blood clot after taking the vaccine.

The province said that it was bolstering its efforts to increase demand for vaccinations among residents who are 60 and older across all districts.

To date, only about 235,000 people aged 60 and above had registered on the electronic vaccination data system.

Premier David Makhura said that he admitted that the vaccine registration was going at a slow pace after the abrupt pause on the Sisonke 3B implementation study.

"Since the suspension of J&J because of the issues around clotting, there is a bit of reluctance or hesitance registering for the vaccine," the premier noted.

With plans in place to inoculate vulnerable individuals and essential workers from May to October, acting head of the Health Department, Nomsa Mmope, said that they would be targeting old age homes, Sassa pay points and community centres.

"We've also done outreach campaigns to register the elderly, where the office of the Premier was leading us and all other departments in ensuring that we go on a massive and robust registration campaign," she said.

Gauteng has vaccinated the most healthcare workers, with just under 90,000 having received their jabs so far.

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