Low numbers see Amajuba District launch “Vuma” vaccine initiative

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A total of 21% of South Africa’s adult population is now fully vaccinated. However, the Amajuba District is lagging in the race.

In fact, the Amajuba District is one of 13 Districts in SA that has the lowest covid vaccine coverage. Additionally, it is one of the five poorest vaccination performing district municipalities in KwaZulu-Natal.

The other KZN municipalities are:

  • uThukela
  • Zululand
  • uMzinyathi
  • iLembe

Despite the Amajuba District Municipality fairing rather poorly, the District Municipality’s leadership is now taking steps to remedy the situation.

Meeting with media at the Amajuba District Council Chambers on 27 September 2021, District Mayor Dr Musa Ngubane announced the launch of a mass vaccination campaign which will be rolled in the coming days.

Dubbed the Vuma Campaign, the initiative will see the Amajuba District Municipalities and the local municipalities embark on a mass campaign to vaccinate the community under its guidance.

Local municipalities under the Amajuba Municipality are Newcastle, Dannhauser, and eMadlangeni (Utrecht) municipalities.

As the rollout plans for the initiative begins, Dr Ngubane enthuses, “Our District has the advantage in that it has two mayors as medical doctors (Dr Ngubane and Newcastle’s Mayor, Dr Ntuthuko Mahlaba).”

Bearing this in mind, he enthuses, it is no coincidence our District Municipality has soldiers who are familiar with combating diseases wreaking havoc in the lives of people. This allows our district a better understanding of how to combat the pandemic.

However, looking at the current circumstances and the negative impact the pandemic has had, Dr Ngubane stated the Amajuba District had not taken the necessary steps to vaccinate themselves. For this reason, the Vuma Campaign running from 1 October 2021 to 3 October 2021 is imperative. As it encourages people to work together and focus on primary health care.

The initiative will begin at Newcastle Mall on 1 October 2021, where the Amajuba District Mayor and Newcastle Mayor will be interacting with residents. 

On 2 October 2021, the District Municipality team will move to Blaauwbosch. The eMadlangeni and Dannhauser municipalities will also be setting up programmes during the three days.

As the initiative sees Municipal staff working closely with the Health Department, Dr Ngubane emphasised it is concerning how many people were not standing up to protect their families by getting vaccinated. This is why this campaign is so important, so the Municipal staff can assist health officials in breaking away at the stigma and misinformation around the COVID-19 vaccine.

Newcastle Mayor Dr Mahlaba said they are calling on all community leaders within the Amajuba District, whether traditional leaders, religious leaders, sports leaders, or even business leaders, to rise to the occasion and assist in doing their part in promoting the vaccine.

“The Amajuba District Municipality is among the lowest to be vaccinated. We need to obtain herd immunity, as we do not want to get to the festive period and get exposed to the virus.”

On a further note, he highlighted that the festive period plays an instrumental role in our economy. If people do not get vaccinated, this could see the rampant spread of the virus continue and further possible lockdown restrictions.

Adding to this, the Newcastle Mayor explained that it is a bleak picture that the Amajuba District is one of the municipalities left behind in the vaccination process.

According to the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD), it is essential to note that the country has exited the third wave according to the current definition. By getting vaccinated, the impact of the potential fourth wave can be minimised.

But in order to curb the threat of the fourth wave and improve vaccination numbers, both Dr Ngubane and Dr Mahlaba stress that it is essential to change people’s mindsets. 

Moreover, Dr Mahlaba points out that it must be noted, when it came to people’s mindsets, rural people were more eager to get vaccinated than those living in urban areas.

As the initiative is set to begin in a matter of days, the Amajuba District will be notifying the community through the various media houses in Newcastle on the upcoming programmes on the mass vaccine drive.

By participating in the drive, the community can ensure the current COVID-19 trajectory declines, ensuring the economy can recover and a sense of normalcy can resume.

Not sure how to register online for your vaccine? READ THIS STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE.

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