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DURBAN – KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala has commended the enthusiasm for getting vaccinated shown by the latest age group, 18-34, to join the roll-out.
The18-34 age group were allowed to vaccinate from August 20 – their date was moved forward from September 1 – and they have since taken their excitement to social media, with some sharing pictures and videos of themselves getting vaccinated.
Speaking during a media briefing on the province’s Covid-19 update on Sunday afternoon, Zikalala said they were encouraged by the positive response.
“We share the same sentiments that have been expressed by academics elsewhere, that the vaccination of the over-18 cohort is good for us in a number of ways,” he said.
He added that one of the bonuses of vaccinating this group was that all adults with comorbidities were now eligible for vaccination.
“But secondly, as a relatively young country, the over-18 population group is quite sizeable and influential. It therefore has the power to change the narrative around vaccination and make it positive. This is especially so on social media, which shapes people’s opinions and their general outlook.
“This also means that these youngsters will be safe from the virus; but also, they will pose less of a threat to their parents, grandparents and other members of their households who might be of advanced age, or be living with comorbidities,” he said.
Zikala said 216 754 people aged between 18 and 34 had been registered so far, and 55 302 of them were vaccinated between August 20 and 27.
“This gives us an average of 7 000 vaccinations among this group per day,” he said. “So, indeed, we are pleased that the over-18s are coming out in numbers and sharing their ’selfies’ and posting videos of themselves getting vaccinated. May this spirit continue, because it has a number of these positive spin-offs,” he said.