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JOHANNESBURG - Acting Health Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane has confirmed that South Africans over the age of 50 will be able to register for a COVID-19 vaccine from Thursday.

The minister said that this group would then be able to get their jabs from 15 July.

"We will open registration for all citizens between the ages of 50 years and above and we will also schedule those vaccinations to begin on the 15th of July. I encourage all the citizens to register and get their vaccine," Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane said.

The minister was giving an update on Friday on the latest developments around the third wave of the coronavirus pandemic.

So far, government had vaccinated more than 2.5 million people, including 50,000 people in the education sector per day, since the programme started.

The minister said that at this pace, they believed that they would make the deadline of vaccinating educators within 10 days.

Meanwhile, government is aiming to vaccinate more than 3 million South Africans between the ages of 50 and 59 from 15 July.

Government has also promised that more inoculation sites would be opened.

The department's Nicholas Crisp: "We will need to increase the number of sites, which is also now possible for us ot plan because there are more vaccines in our stock in the last week and both public and private sectors are gearing up rapidly - we have meetings twice a week with our key private sector players and we are working together to work out which of the private sector sites can be brought online."

NO VACCINE DEATHS

Kubayi-Ngubane said that there were no deaths related to anyone who had received their COVID-19 jab.

"The second concern to touch on is that with Pfizer and reports of heart inflammation in young men. These events are rare and Pfizer has decided to include this as a warning in the product logo. I've been reassured by our experts that the vast majority, if not all cases, that were reported were mild with short hospital stays."

VACCINE HESITANCY

Kubayi-Ngubane earlier said that government was concerned about the continued decline in the number of people over 60 getting vaccinated against the coronavirus.

She met with the Gauteng Health Department on Thursday - this province was the main driver of the third wave in the country, followed by the Western Cape.

The nation's economic hub is in the grips of a bruising third wave, with more than 74,000 active cases in the province.

Nationally over 16,000 new infections have been confirmed and Gauteng accounted for 9,521 of those cases.

Kubayi-Ngubane said that she would be meeting with the ministerial command council for COVID-19 on Saturday to discuss what should be done to slow down the spread of the virus.

She once again urged the elderly to get their jabs amid significant vaccine hesitancy among this group.

"It is a group that is most at risk. We cannot give up on making the vast majority of this group who understand that this manifestation is a result of high vaccine hesitancy in this group."

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This article first appeared on EWN : COVID jabs for citizens aged 50 and over to begin on 15 July - Kubayi-Ngubane

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