Elderly at Lyndhurst old age home excited to receive COVID-19 jabs

The Elphin Home for the Aged in Lyndhurst, Johannesburg, is where some of the most vulnerable of the elderly reside, with many suffering severe medical conditions, including dementia and Alzheimer's disease.

An elderly woman receives her COVID-19 vaccine jab with the start of the second phase of South Africa's vaccine rollout on 17 May 2021. Picture: @GautengHealth/Twitter

JOHANNESBURG - It’s been a day of excitement and optimism for many of the elderly who received their COVID-19 vaccinations.

Monday marked the start of phase two of the vaccine rollout, with the first phase concentrating on health workers under the Sisonke trial.

The Elphin Home for the Aged in Lyndhurst, Johannesburg, is where some of the most vulnerable of the elderly reside, with many suffering severe medical conditions, including dementia and Alzheimer's disease.

At least five million citizens aged 60 and above have been identified to receive the COVID-19 jab before the end of June, however, only 1.1 million of them have registered.

While goverment admitted that the start of the rollout had been slow, for the time being old age homes would be targeted first.

The elderly spoke of their excitement and optimism as the second phase of the COVID-19 vaccination campaign kicked off in Lyndhurst, lining up to receive their jab in a hall used as a vaccine site.

GALLERY: SA's elderly queue for phase 2 of SA's vaccine rollout

Residents said that the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine couldn’t have come sooner.

"Please, if you can, come and vaccinate because this is a way of protecting yourself, protecting your children, protecting your grandchildren," one resident urged.

"Over the years, we've had a few vaccines and so having this one was the right thing to do," another resident said.

Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi, who came to oversee the start of the second phase of the vaccination programme in this community, said that the rollout has been quite emotional.

"The level of excitement since we've started with the first step is amazing. But the opposite side is painful. Someone will say, 'if only it had arrived earlier, my friend would be alive, if only it had arrived earlier, my grandparent would be alive'. But it was not an easy task," Lesufi said.

More than 4,200 vaccines were expected to be distributed to senior citizens on Monday.

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