Department spokesperson Popo Maja condemned the fake news, saying the rumours were designed to cause panic and unnecessary public disquiet.
“The Department of Health alerts the public about rumours circulating on social media claiming registration is now open for people of 65 years and older which are obnoxious and completely false,” Maja said in a terse statement.
He said the department would make an announcement on the vaccination of the elderly at the opportune moment.
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After having secured a 20 million doses deal with Pfizer and concluding a Johnson& Johnson (J&J) Covid-19 vaccine agreement ahead of the long-awaited vaccine rollout planned for May, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said this week the government would revise its vaccination programme strategy.
“Upon deeper inspection and reflection, the Department of Health has worked on a revised strategy to ensure the vaccination campaign targets the most pressing public health and economic relief that vaccinations should achieve.
“These revisions will require extensive yet urgent consultation to ensure the final programme expresses the will of the people,” Mkhize said on Tuesday night in a statement.
The health department had planned on rolling out the second phase of the vaccine programme from 17 May to the end of July, targeting nearly 5.5 million people over the age of 60 years.
This phase would cover vulnerable groups, essential workers and the occupational health and safety stream.
South Africa has been vaccinating healthcare workers in the public and private sector using the single-dose J&J vaccine since mid-February.
So far, 278,909 vaccines have been administrated at 72 sites across the country.
Phase three of the vaccination drive will be implemented over three months (November 2021 to February 2022) to cover all people in South Africa, targeting 22,600,640 people.
Article by Thapelo Lekabe