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South Africa opens drive-through vaccination centers

A nurse speaks to a man waiting in line for a Covid-19 jab at Kempton Park, Johannesburg, South Africa   -  
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South Africa

South Africa has introduced drive-through vaccination centers in a bid to ramp up coronavirus inoculations. 

At one center in Kempton Park, east of Johannesburg, people only have to book a slot online or over the phone and then drive in for their jab.

The country recently expanded the campaign to cover people over the age of 60, after initially vaccinating health workers.

"When we're packed sitting in line at the clinic to receive the vaccine you get discouraged by those you are seated with, that's when fear creeps in and you have second thoughts about receiving the vaccine," said Nombuyiselo Vilakazi, a resident of Kempton Park after getting the vaccine.

"Now that you are seated in your car I feel that the drive-through is better because there's no one to discourage you," she said. 

South African authorities have faced criticism for the slow pace of the vaccination campaign, even as the country seeks to reopen its badly battered economy.

"We wanted to do something very different here at Ekurhuleni Health District where people will feel very comfortable," Sithiba Matheza, a primary health care worker.

"We know that with COVID-19 people are afraid to go to facilities because in a facility we mix with everyone, so here we are saying feel free, feel safe in your car, just drive through and get vaccinated," she said. 

South Africa has logged over 1.6 million cases of the virus and more than 55,000 fatalities, making it the hardest-hit country in Africa.

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