Big vaccination drive in South Africa — with cash prizes up for grabs

The National Department of Health will hold a Vooma Vaccination Week from 3 to 10 December 2021 to ramp up Covid-19 vaccinations before an anticipated fourth wave of infections hits the country.

The Vooma Vaccination Week is effectively an extended form of the Vooma Vaccination Weekends first announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa in September.

Two such weekends were held during October and November, during which a total of 650,000 jabs were administered.

As part of the full-week drive, health minister Joe Phaahla said all provinces had been encouraged to increase the number of Covid-19 vaccination sites.

From Friday, pop-up vaccination sites will be opened in shopping malls, recreational areas, taxi ranks, train stations and airports where there has not been a vaccination presence before.

The pop-up sites will remain open until next week Friday to maximise uptake, the department said. All existing sites will also be available.

People aged 50 years or older who get their first shot will receive a Vooma Voucher worth R200, which can be redeemed at any Shoprite, Checkers, or Usave store. This is to help offset the cost of travelling to a vaccination site.

The voucher will be sent via SMS to the cellphone number they provide when they get their first jab.

In addition, all those who get their shot will be entered into a lucky draw where 200 winners will take home cash prizes of R1,000, R10,000 or R100,000 each week.

Phaahla said the department was targeting 1 million more people to receive their first dose of a vaccine during the period but emphasised it was not the government’s responsibility alone to reach that figure.

“At the end, let us not ask whether the government has achieved its targets, but whether all of us working together have exceeded that target of one million people vaccinated in one week,” he said.

The Department of Basic Education was also being approached to permit pop-up sites after exams in the week following.

In addition, the health department plans to partner with the transport sector to maximise vaccination messaging at pit stops, rest areas, and along the major provincial and national routes.

Furthermore, civil society and faith-based organisations will be encouraged to set up soup kitchens, and refreshment stands at the vaccination sites.

Now read: South Africa’s fourth wave is here — and it is driven by Omicron

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Big vaccination drive in South Africa — with cash prizes up for grabs