President Cyril Ramaphosa has commended young people for turning out in their numbers, and registering, to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
“This fills me with great pride. Over half a million South Africans enrolled on the day that registration for over 18s opened,” the President said in his newsletter on Monday.
The vaccination of people aged between 18 and 35 years opened on Friday.
“The young people of our country are giving us all hope that an end to this time of hardship is within our sight. The maturity that young people have brought to the important task of vaccinating as many South Africans as possible calls to mind the words of Frantz Fanon, that it is to each generation to discover its mission and fulfil it,” the President said.
Last week, South Africa passed the milestone of 10 million vaccine doses administered.
“Nearly five million people are fully vaccinated, which means they have received one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine or two doses of the Pfizer vaccine. But we still have a long way to go.
“This is where young people come in. We are calling on them to go out and get vaccinated so that we reach our goal. I was not surprised to see young people taking to this task with such determination. Since the pandemic broke out 17 months ago, young South Africans have been an integral part of the national effort to battle the coronavirus,” the President said.
He said young people have been brave and forthright when they have seen the friends or popular personalities violating health regulations at parties and gatherings.
“They have called them out. We have seen the youth step up to keep themselves and others safe. We have seen youth formations and community organisations, young leaders, influencers and content creators using their platforms to share public health messages with their peers.
“We have seen how young people have been helping with the national vaccination drive, even when they were not yet eligible themselves,” the President said.
He expressed pride at witnessing young volunteers in communities such as the #GrandkidsforGogos initiative, which assisted the elderly with vaccination registration at social grant pay-points.
“Despite the hardship caused by the pandemic, they are still optimistic, and they still want to be of service to our country. By getting vaccinated, they aren’t just protecting themselves, but also those around them.
“There is still a lot of shady content being circulated out there about the vaccine. These conspiracy theories are far-fetched, and I am calling on young people once again to not circulate them.
“These messages are harmful, and are making people hesitant to get vaccinated. This is not only harmful to young people but many others, including people at risk who really need the vaccine,” the President said.
He emphasised the importance of young people helping to spread information about vaccines, which has been provided by the Department of Health and World Health Organisation.
“We would like to see young people becoming walking adverts for the vaccination process. We appeal to young people to post pictures of themselves getting vaccinated. These vaccines are safe. They work. Most importantly, they save lives,” the President said.
He said young people have always been the drivers of progress, innovation and change.
“We must emerge from this health crisis so we can recover and rebuild. I want to give a shout out to those who have got their jab.
“I also want to thank all the youth organisations, leaders and influencers for their efforts to encourage young people to get vaccinated, and call on them to continue with this work. Your time is now. Go and get your jab. This is your mission and your chance to fulfil it,” the President said. – SAnews.gov.za