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Struggle stalwart Sophie Williams-de Bruyn on Wednesday received her first dose of the Pfizer vaccine at Johannesburg’s Alexandra Community Health Care Centre.

The last surviving organiser of the 1956 Women’s March has since pleaded with communities not to drop their guard now that the COVID-19 vaccination rollout programme is underway.

The 83-year-old is among several leaders who have agreed to take the vaccine publicly as part of mobilising the rest of society to participate in the mass vaccination programme.

According to the Gauteng Health Department, leaders from various sectors of society have been publicly receiving their vaccinations as part of efforts to address vaccine hesitancy and concerns around its safety.

“People shouldn’t oppose but come and have their vaccine because it is to protect ourselves. It does not mean that you won’t catch COVID-19. All that it means is that it’s just another protection against COVID-19,” said Williams-de Bruyn.

She has also called on citizens to continue to observe the non-pharmaceutical protocols by keeping to the protocols of social distancing, the washing of hands and wearing the masks.

“People should wear their masks properly because sometimes when we wear the mask, we don’t wear it properly.”

She has urged citizens to be disciplined when it comes to hygiene. 

“I would encourage everybody to have their vaccination. We see what is happening in the world. It’s not only our country. In fact, in some of the countries, it’s even worse.”

Meanwhile, human rights activist, Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu and his wife, Leah, were also among the first to receive their shots in Cape Town on the launch day of phase two of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout on Monday.

“All my life I have tried to do the right thing and, today, getting vaccinated against COVID-19 is definitely the right thing to do. That is why Leah and I took this step, to do our part to start the national healing process so we can end this pandemic. We have to do this together,” the Archbishop said.

“Believe me, when you get to our age, little needles worry you far less than bending over does.”

He said it was wonderful to get out of the house and meet the dedicated healthcare workers who immunised them.

“Leah and I signed up to be vaccinated a while ago because we know this will help save our loved ones from worry and heartbreak, and ourselves from this terrible disease.”

He also paid tribute to healthcare workers.

“I salute you. God bless all of you for your selfless service to our citizens and our country.”

On Tuesday, Health Minister, Dr Mkhize Mkhize, announced that the total number of those vaccinated in phase two to date stands at 39 371.


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