Taxi drivers praised as residents flock to pop-up Covid-19 vaccine site at Bara taxi rank

The Gauteng health department was pleased with the turnaround at its vaccination centres on Wednesday. File photo.
The Gauteng health department was pleased with the turnaround at its vaccination centres on Wednesday. File photo.
Image: Gauteng Health/ Twitter

The Gauteng health department says it is impressed with the turnout of Soweto residents after it launched a mobile Covid-19 vaccination site at the Bara taxi rank on Wednesday.

This is one of the measures the province is putting in place to ensure the vaccine rollout regains its momentum after a recent slump.

Last week, premier David Makhura said the province had noted a worrying low turnout of men at vaccination centres in comparison to women. 

“Our vaccination programme has reached a lot of women. Women have been responding very well. In some regions, we have a serious problem as men are not coming out. We must commend women that they are taking action to ensure that they are safe,” he told journalists. 

On Wednesday, the provincial health department said it had administered over 300 vaccines since opening the site to walk-ins and eligible individuals including those aged 35 and above.

Transport MEC in the province Jacob Mamabolo commended the taxi industry for its role in encouraging vaccination among its members. 

“Men are taking the vaccine and we are seeing an increase in the numbers right here. This is confirmed by the health officials that the response is quite good. It's overwhelming. It's not just the taxi drivers who are taking the jab, it's everybody and the numbers are really quite good,” said Mamabolo. 

He added that taking the vaccines to the unvaccinated proved effective in increasing the numbers of inoculated individuals and challenging stereotypes and myths about the vaccine.

“The taxi industry is leading by example and I would like to thank the leaders of the taxi industry for the excellent work they are doing, in mobilising drivers to come and take the vaccine,” said Mamabolo.

Meanwhile, the National Immunisation Safety Expert Committee and SA Health Product Regulator Association (Sahpra) on Wednesday assured the public of the safety of the Pfizer and J&J vaccines being administered in SA.

This was during a webinar focused on educating the public on the Covid-19 vaccine. 

Committee member, Prof Hannelie Meyer said current data suggests that less than 10% of those who get vaccinated will experience severe after-effects like headaches, fever and chills.

This view was echoed by Sahpra’s vigilance manager, Mafora Matlala, who said the regulator has received just over 2,000 cases of severe after-effects from the more than 9-million doses that have been administered so far. 

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