Cape Argus

Involving youth in fight against Covid-19

- MATIKWENI KHOZA Khoza is a former intern at at the Government Communicat­ion and Informatio­n System. She writes in her personal capacity.

THE month of June starts tomorrow and, like all previous years, we will once again commemorat­e and pay homage to the youth of 1976.

However, unlike the celebratio­ns we have had in the previous years, before the Covid-19 pandemic, we will reflect on the past year since the outbreak of the virus, and recall the many lives that have been lost.

This, however, does not have to be the only object for South Africans to reflect on. Since the beginning of phase 1 of the Sisonke vaccinatio­n roll-out in February, more health-care workers have become open to the procedure of getting vaccinated.

They are, after all, the front liners, who have been labouring tirelessly to save lives during this devastatin­g pandemic.

With the current death rate standing at more than 55 000 and the arrival of the much-feared third wave, the Health Department is racing against time to vaccinate as many people as possible.

Of course, avoiding crowded places, wearing masks and observing physical distancing should still be practised.

But what better way to kick-start Youth Month, than by getting young people involved in the fight against Covid-19? Now that phase 2 of the vaccinatio­n trial has begun, for those aged 60 and over, young people have the opportunit­y to play their part in helping and encouragin­g the elderly – in their families and communitie­s – to register for vaccinatio­n.

There are several ways to assist the elderly in getting vaccinated, which can be done online through the vaccinatio­n portal on the Electronic Vaccinatio­n Data System (EVDS), through the WhatsApp line, SMS or by calling the Covid-19 hotline.

Being a part of the younger generation, we sometimes forget that the elderly do not always have the technologi­cal tools, or an understand­ing of how to apply for vaccinatio­ns.

We sometimes do not consider that vaccine hesitation among the elderly population stems from a lack of accurate informatio­n and the spreading of fake news.

This, however, gives us the opportunit­y to actively play our role in helping, enlighteni­ng, educating and encouragin­g those in the specified age group to get vaccinated.

Mobilising the youth in rural, suburban and sprawling cities – to inform the public about Covid-19 – will help reinforce government­s’ efforts in fighting the spread of the virus and preventing further decline of the local economy.

As youth, we sometimes forget that the little that we do to help our loved ones, and others in the communitie­s around us, has the immeasurab­le power to change the world for the better. This includes protecting the most vulnerable men and women that form part of our population.

If we, as young people, want to make an impact, then this is our opportunit­y. The motive behind our little assistance might go unnoticed, but it will have the potential to go a long way in adding to the desired achievemen­t of herd immunity in the country.

Rather than using the month of June to only celebrate and remember those youth who struggled for equality, why don’t we make use of Youth Month, and the remainder of the year, to help, reassure and protect the senior citizens, and the rest of the country at large?

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