By Libuseng Nyaka
QWAQWA-Matete Clarah Ramaili is among 240 elderly people who have been vaccinated with the fists batch of Pfizer vaccine during the launch at Thekolohelong old age home at Phuthaditjhaba in the Thabo Mofutsanyana district municipality on Monday.
Initially the launch targeted to vaccinate 120 elderly people but the turn up doubled the numbers and the province was left with no option but register and vaccinate those who had heeded the call.
Ramaili from Tsheseng village, the traditional leader from Batlokwa council who took a lead in taking of vaccine in a bid to influence her objects about the importance of vaccinating against Covid -19 and reduce high number of infections has this to say in an interview with The Guard.
“I am relieved to know that I am protected and chances of falling very ill have been minimised. I know I still have to come for the second injection during the date that would be scheduled. I am lucky that I was not returned because I did not receive the sms even though I have registered as early as December .”
Echoing her sentiments another elderly Maggie Mono from Namahadi village says it feels safe after taking her first immunization even though she is aware that she must still continue to wear her mask, practice social distancing as well as regular washing of hands.
Free State Premier Sefora Ntombela who launched the phase two roll out vaccination of elderly people, has hailed the process as a success.
‘’It went very well. We expected to vaccinate only 120 elderly people but we have vaccinated more than 200. We would not turn away people ”. Said Ntombela
She however raise concern about Bloemfontein where vaccination was halted after service delivery protest that put everything on stand still.
Premier also appealed to those who have been vaccinated to continue wearing their mask, practice social distance, avoid crowded areas while also continuing to wash hands frequently .
She also warned youth against partying and ignoring the Covid-19.
“We are in trouble and this is very serious. Here in Free State 4000 people have died because of Covid-19 and more than 90 000 people were affected. I just want to appeal to all of them, please not now.”
Health MEC Montseng Tsiu said enough beds have been prepared .
“Over the weekend I checked if we still have enough beds especially in Bloemfontein where we have a lot of infections in schools, as you heard at Grey college about 20 learners tested positive over the weekend. I checked with Unversitas our biggest facility where we admit people with corona and they told me they still have forty empty beds.”
However she admitted that the hospitals are getting full even the quarantine sites.
“ Yesterday we had to transfer some of the patients to Bloemfontein quarantine because Xhariep was full and we can’t admit any more people there. We are saying to our people take care, infection rate is going up at an alarming rate. People die because of this covid-19, It is only our behaviour that can save us.
The other area which was supposed to started vaccination of elderly is Mangaung where everything came to a standstill when residents engaged into a total shutdown of the capital city unhappy with poor service delivery.
Ntombela said she will meet with the leaders of shutdown and address their issues.