Excitement & hesitancy: SA’s elderly queue to receive their COVID jabs

In Gauteng, government is hoping to vaccinate 1.3 million senior citizens, which means 36,000 people a day.

FILE: Vaccine recipients queue at Karl Bremer Hospital’s vaccination site in Cape Town on 17 May 2021. Picture: Kevin Brandt/Eyewitness News

JOHANNESBURG/CAPE TOWN - There are mixed emotions ranging from excitement to hesitancy among healthcare workers and the elderly waiting to get their COVID-19 jabs at South Africa’s 87 sites across the country, with phase two of the vaccine programme now under way.

In Gauteng, government is hoping to vaccinate 1.3 million senior citizens, which means 36,000 people a day.

At the Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital, an 68-year-old held on to her handbag, which contains her identity document, and a confirmation SMS of her booking for her appointment.

Sitting on a plastic chair under a marquee tent in the nippy weather, she told Eyewitness News that she contracted COVID-19 earlier this year and wanted to be protected during the third wave of infections hitting the province.

READ: After months of planning, SA’s phase 2 of COVID vaccine drive kicks off today

“I had COVID in January and now I told myself I won’t take any chances because I have chronic diseases. I am not scared, I am happy.”

Meanwhile, a healthcare worker who provides home catering to people with special needs, although she’s scared to take the jab, said she was doing it to keep those around her safe.

“At first, I wasn’t sure because I was hearing people getting blood clots, but not many people had them. So that is why I am taking it.”

There are 88,000 healthcare workers in Gauteng who still need to be vaccinated.

Meanwhile, the Karl Bremer Hospital in Cape Town has been prepared according to strict COVID-19 protocols.

Health workers will also be visiting old age homes.

Medical staff who haven't been vaccinated under the Sisonke study will continue receiving their shots.

Through the study, more than 93,000 health workers in the province have so far been vaccinated.

Download the Eyewitness News app to your iOS or Android device.