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First day of mass rollout exciting - Mkhize

Pirates boss Irvin Khoza queues for Covid-19 vaccine

Orlando Pirates chairman Irvin Khoza at the Munsieville Centre for the Aged. He was among the senior citizens who were scheduled for vaccination on Monday.
Orlando Pirates chairman Irvin Khoza at the Munsieville Centre for the Aged. He was among the senior citizens who were scheduled for vaccination on Monday.
Image: Freddy Mavunda

Citizens over the age of 60 have come out in their numbers to receive the Covid-19 vaccine at Munsieville Centre for the Aged in Krugersdorp, Gauteng.

Orlando Pirates chairman Irvin Khoza was among the senior citizens who were to be vaccinated at the centre on Monday. He queued to be screened before being scheduled for his jab.

“I'm grateful to be among the first to be vaccinated and I'm here to do what is right for my country so that we may return to normality,” he said.

“As chairman of football, l felt the need to lead by example and vaccinate. This is not about status but about doing what is right.”

Barbara Mashala, 67, said she couldn’t wait for this day. She woke up early and was queuing from 5am so she could be first in line.

“I’ve been waiting for this day and am happy it is finally here,” she said, adding that she was pleased she got to meet health minister Zweli Mkhize, Gauteng premier David Makhura and health MEC Dr Nomathemba Mokgethi.

“Their presence makes me feel special and also reaffirms that the government believes in this vaccine and values the elderly,” she said.

Mashala said she registered to receive the vaccine when the government opened the registration portal at the same centre where she received the vaccine.

She said her daughter is a health worker who was vaccinated in the earlier phase. Seeing she did not experience side-effects had encouraged Mashala to sign up.

Supreme Court of Appeal judge Caroline Nicholls was also at the centre to receive her vaccine.

She said everyone she knows in the judiciary can't wait to get the jab so that that SA may go back to normal life.

"I feel wonderful. Everyone needs to do it for themselves, the country and communities," Nicholls said.

Mkhize said it was an exciting day and indications were that all centres that were supposed to start with vaccination did so without any challenges.

“I'm glad that the system that is been put in place is working. I'm quite happy with how the registration is going,” he said.

“This marks the beginning of the mass rollout of the vaccination.”

Makhura said they didn't sleep to make sure that everything was in order for the big day.

“I met the elderly people [yesterday morning] and their message has been very positive. They believe vaccines work,” he said.

“We started with fewer sites but there are lessons that we are taking from this.”

He also said the phase was extremely important and encouraged healthcare workers to continue with their vaccinations.

“I'm reassuring the healthcare workers that they will not be left behind. We will vaccinate them simultaneously with the elderly.”

The premier said the target for Gauteng is to have 10.4 million people vaccinated.