Farms in Limpopo double up as vaccination centres

Limpopo's departments of health, and agriculture and rural development, have embarked on a joint vaccination drive. Hailed as an example of proactive vaccine rollout, the province aims to reach more farming communities in coming weeks

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Willing to play their part in the fight against Covid-19, farm owners in the Limpopo province are availing their farms as vaccination sites.

A team of healthcare workers are currently vaccinating in the farming community at Waterpoort ZZ2 in the Vhembe district. They are being led by the province’s MEC for health, Dr Phophi Ramathuba and the MEC for agriculture and rural development, Nandi Ndalane.  

The two departments have entered into a partnership in a vaccination drive which focuses on farmworkers.   

vaccination drive: Dr Phophi Ramathuba, Limpopo’s MEC for health. Photo: Supplied/Food For Mzansi
Dr Phophi Ramathuba, Limpopo’s MEC for health. Photo: Supplied/Food For Mzansi

“We are continuing to make our way to the farming communities within the province as part of our Covid-19 vaccination outreach campaign to vaccinate farm employees,” explains Ramathuba.  

Her department, widely praised for leading South Africa’s Covid-19 vaccine rollout, says it is pleased with the response from farm owners to allow vaccination initiatives to take place on their farms.  

Ramathuba believes, “The farming community remains pivotal in ensuring food security and as such it is important to have all farmworkers vaccinated so they don’t halt food production in our province.”  

All districts to be covered 

Furthermore, the department of agriculture and rural development in the province considers it critically important for stakeholders in the farming sector to vaccinate. These, they say, include farmworkers and those residing in farming communities.  

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It is the view of the provincial department that in some instances, farmworkers are vulnerable members of society when considering access to amenities such as healthcare.   

“In this regard, considering the role they play in the overall food production value chain, the department sought to have a deliberate campaign to vaccinate farmworkers,” Joshua Kwapa, media liaison for the department tells Food For Mzansi.  

“We have not set a specific number as a target, but our approach is that we want to vaccinate as many people as we possibly can,” Kwapa adds.  

Limpopo MEC for agriculture and rural development, Nandi Ndalane. Photo: Supplied/Food For Mzansi
Limpopo MEC for agriculture and rural development, Nandi Ndalane. Photo: Supplied/Food For Mzansi

Part of their vaccination game plan is to visit all districts in the province and work with organised farming organisations, including farm owners.  

“It is critically important for this sector of our stakeholders to vaccinate in order to preserve life and reduce fatalities. 

“These stakeholders are important in our efforts to contribute to economic recovery and, importantly, to the sustenance of food production and thereby obtaining food security,” Kwapa explains.  

Next stop on the vaccination drive 

Meanwhile members of the community 35 years and older are encouraged to make their way to the vaccination sites with their identity cards.  

The jab is however, Limpopo health spokesperson Neil Shikwambana clarifies, not only for those residing in farming communities.  

Residents staying around farming communities may come to be vaccinated as well, provided they are eligible for vaccination, he says.  

“So far, the turnouts in farming communities have been massive. We urge people to follow our social media pages (Twitter and Facebook) for regular updates on vaccination sites,” says Shikwambana.  

In the meantime, Food For Mzansi can confirm that another vaccination drive is expected to take place in Lephalale on Monday, 23 August. Both MECs are scheduled to be in attendance.  

ALSO READ: 500 workers jabbed on farm

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