KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala has raised concerns the elderly in the province are no longer registering to get the Covid-19 jab.
Around 400 000 people in the 60 and above age group in the province have not yet been vaccinated.
To date, 2.3 million Covid-19 vaccines have been administered in KZN.
He added on average, the province had been vaccinating 30 000 people per day, between Monday and Friday, with less than 10 000 getting their jabs over weekends.
“What is even more concerning is the fact that people who fall under the vulnerable 60 plus age group are no longer registering or coming forward to get vaccinated.
Zikalala said the 18 to 34 age group, who are far less likely to suffer Covid-19 complications, were vaccinating at a higher rate compared to the other age groups.
“This shows, once again, the level of damage that has been caused by all the myths and misinformation around the safety of the vaccine.
“We want to say to the people, ‘Come and get vaccinated’. We are making vaccination easy and accessible through the Siyagoma WayaWaya programme.”
ALSO READ | Why are Covid-19 vaccination numbers low in Khayelitsha and Mitchells Plain?
On Friday, the KZN government launched Operation Siyagoma WayaWaya (Let No one Be Left Behind) which sees all provincial cabinet members venturing into churches, hostels, shopping malls, and various other places to convince people to get the jab.
During the briefing, Zikalala said the province had received medical and scientific expert advice that the recent surge in coronavirus infections reflected the high number of primarily unvaccinated people.
“This is serious and is even affecting our economic recovery programme. The experts have also noted that the risk of an adverse outcome from the virus is minimal for persons who are inoculated.
“It is now abundantly clear that our passport out of this pandemic, which must take us back to normal life and the better functioning of the economy, will be determined by us taking the vaccine.”
Third wave of infections
The third wave of infections was characterised by a fluctuation in the number of new cases, hospitalisations and deaths, but the curve had so far appeared to be less severe than the second wave, he added.
Zikalala said cluster outbreaks in schools also drove the third wave.
Clusters were also identified in correctional centres.
READ | KwaZulu-Natal, Western Cape record majority of SA’s 5 885 new cases
As of 10 September, more than 1 000 people were admitted to public and private hospitals in KZN for Covid-19.
Between 1 June and 10 September, the province recorded 2 218 Covid-19-related deaths.
Ethekwini recorded the highest number of deaths, followed by Umgungundlovu, Amajuba and Uthukela.
To date, KZN has recorded 14 030 Covid-19-related deaths.
In the last 24 hours, it reported 1 340 new infections, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 500 320.
“We once again wish to sound a clarion call to the people: Come forward and give your body the ability to fight possible Covid-19 infection. Let us end vaccine apathy and hesitancy,” Zikalala said.