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Ramaphosa impressed with determination of youth to get vaccinated

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Ramaphosa impressed with determination of youth to get vaccinated

Image of South African President Cyril Ramaphosa
President Cyril Ramaphosa

23rd August 2021

By: Thabi Madiba
Creamer Media Senior Research Assistant and Reporter

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In his weekly letter to the nation on Monday, President Cyril Ramaphosa directly addressed the country’s youth, expressing his pride at seeing them turning out in their numbers on Friday to get vaccinated.

The Department of Health (DoH) opened the registration and Covid-19 vaccination for people aged 18 to 34, on Friday. This was brought forward from the initial opening date of September 1.

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Over half a million South Africans enrolled on the day that registration for over 18s opened.

Ramaphosa said young people were providing hope that an end to the hard times, brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic, was within reach.

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“As I watched young people being interviewed while queueing at vaccination centres I was impressed by their enthusiasm and excitement. Most of all I was impressed by their knowledge about the vaccine, how it can protect, and why it is necessary. I heard young men and women speaking of the need to protect those at risk in their communities. I read a post online by a young person urging those who follow her on social media to take heed of the early days of the HIV/Aids pandemic, when young people died unnecessarily because they believed false stories that were then circulating that antiretroviral medication was deadly, or because they disregarded advice to practice safe sex,” the President said.

Last week, the country passed the 10-million milestone of vaccine doses administered. Nearly 5-million people are fully vaccinated, with the one dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine or the two dose Pfizer vaccine.

He likened today’s generation of youth to those who stood in line to democratically vote for the first time in 1994, saying today’s young people are being called on to be at the forefront in this defining moment in the life of our nation.

But, Ramaphosa warned that the country still had a long way to go, warning of the dangers of spreading false information about the Covid-19 vaccine, one of those dangers being vaccine hesitancy.

He said conspiracy theories were far-fetched and harmful and urged the youth to not circulate this content.

He added that  it was important that the country’s youth help spread verified information around vaccines provided by the DoH and the World Health Organisation.

Ramaphosa assured that vaccines were safe, that they worked and, most importantly, they saved lives.

He said young people wre digital natives.

“They are more tech savvy than any generation that came before them. 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. You are determined to build a better, brighter future. We must emerge from this health crisis so we can recover and rebuild. Your time is now. Go and get your jab. This is your mission and your chance to fulfil it,” said Ramaphosa.

He also thanked all youth organisations, leaders and influencers for their efforts in encouraging vaccination.

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