N Cape elderly feel neglected in COVID-19 vaccination drive

Elderly people who live in rural areas, outside Kuruman in the Northern Cape, might have to wait longer before they get their COVID-19 vaccine. Unlike their urban counterparts, the provincial Department of Health says villages are harder to access due to bad roads.

The elderly from villages including Galothlare, Gadibowe and Tjowe are wondering how and when they will receive the COVID-19 jab.

Most of them with comorbidities say they only hear about the vaccine rollout on the radio. They say they are yet to see health workers coming to register them to be inoculated.

One of the elderly people says, “We have not heard anything. Are we forgotten or what? All of us here have not received help.”

“We haven’t received the vaccine, how are we going to survive? They only know us when they need votes,” adds another one.

Provincial Health MEC Maruping Lekwene says they have plans to include far-flung rural areas as part of their rollout.

“It is vast and unfortunately with bad roads so we are hoping to try and bring some of these elderly to a central point where we can really assist them. The best intervention will be through outreach teams where we will get those bakkies. With the Johnson and Johnson, it will help us cover our far-flung areas,” says Lekwene.

The elderly say rural areas are always an after-thought when it comes to receiving services and a case in point is the COVID-19 vaccine rollout.

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