South Africa
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POLL | Are you a 'vaccine dropout'?

Young people in KZN not returning for second jab: premier

KwaZulu-Natal premier Sihle Zikalala says vaccination is the only defence against Covid-19.

KwaZulu-Natal premier Sihle Zikalala says vaccination is the only defence against Covid-19.
Image: Twitter/ KZN government

KwaZulu-Natal premier Sihle Zikalala on Sunday said he was concerned about the low turnout at vaccination sites among young people.

Zikalala announced that KwaZulu-Natal had entered the fourth wave of infections, which was mainly driven by the newly detected Omicron variant, and said many young people had not returned for their second dose of the Pfizer vaccine that would offer them added protection against the virus.

“We ask our young people who have received their first dose of Pfizer vaccine to come back for their second shot to derive maximum protection from vaccination. This group has shown a lower rate of returning for their second shots.

“The Omicron variant has been found to have a high number of mutations and scientists are still studying it. Until new information emerges, the safety precautions should remain the same,” said Zikalala. 

He said an increase in hospitalisation and patients in ICU and on ventilators was driven by unvaccinated patients. Zikalala said the vaccine was the only defence against Covid-19.

“We are concerned about the slower uptake of vaccinations in KwaZulu-Natal. We plead with the citizens of the province to understand that the vaccines are safe and effective and available for free to save our lives. The only way we stand a chance of defeating Covid-19 is by getting everyone vaccinated."

Ilembe, Amajuba and Zululand were some of the districts that registered the lowest vaccination rates, while eThekwini registered the most new infections.

Zikalala said the provincial government will keep a watchful eye on event organisers during the festive season to ensure they have Covid-19 safety protocols in place.