DURBAN – KwaZulu-Natal Health MEC Nomgagugu Simelane has dismissed allegations that the R100 grocery voucher offered to people over 60 who take the Covid-19 jab, has been viewed by some as an insult to the elderly.
The Vooma Vaccination initiative announced last week that it had partnered on an initiative with the Shoprite Group to incentivise vaccination for the elderly as they had seen a link between cost and vaccine take-up.
It said the private sector bodies such as the DG Murray Trust were trying to look at innovative ways with the government to incentivise the estimated 2 million in the 60+ age group to come forward, with a tangible benefit of the Covid-19 vaccine, adding that health workers who had participated at pop-up vaccination sites during the recent national voting day received Nando’s vouchers.
It said during November anyone aged 60+ coming for their vaccine for the first time would receive a R100 grocery voucher that can be redeemed within 30 days at Shoprite, Checkers, and U-Save. Those who are eligible would not have to register; but would be identified through the EVDS system; they will then after vaccinating receive an invite via SMS to redeem the voucher.
During a media briefing on recent developments in the province after elections chaired by KZN Premier Sihle Zikalala, Simelane said the grocery voucher strategy was one of many that the provincial department was undertaking to persuade and incentivise people to take the Covid-19 jab.
The premier said the provincial health department still had a target of vaccinating a total of 4,791 million people by the end of this year. The Vooma Vaccination initiative said R25 million from foundation donors had been secured to support a pilot for 250 000 people aged 60 and older, and if the pilot was successful and vaccine uptake increased, they would be able to persuade other funders to extend the duration of the pilot.
Simelane has dismissed the assertion that some people felt the R100 voucher was an insult and that it was not enough, and said the offer had not been meant to insult anyone.
“The reality is that we have had a low turnout of the 60+ age group for the Covid-19 vaccine. The voucher is not meant to insult anyone but it was a way for the government to show that it cares and encourage more people to come forward.
“Contrary to what you may have heard, we have not received any complaints but have only received compliments from recipients who are happy and appreciative of the gesture,” Simelane said.
Follow this link to read up on how if you’re 60+ can access the R100 voucher: Covid-19 jab 60+ R100 voucher initiative
Article written by: Xolile Bhengu
Photo credit: News24