KZN Premier Sihle Zikalala has urged the public to come forward to get the Covid-19 vaccination before the fourth wave of the pandemic hits the province in the next few months.

“We want to say to the people of KwaZulu-Natal, it would be a real tragedy if we allowed the fourth wave to come back and start killing our people again, the other real tragedy that is unfolding right before our eyes is the low rate of vaccinations in our province,” Zikalala said.

Zikalala was speaking at a media briefing on Wednesday when he reported that the provinces new Covid-19 infections had dropped by a massive 50% in recent weeks. Over the past week, the overall percentage change in the number of new cases between weeks 40 and 41 was -50% which represents a 50% decline. The actual number of new cases recorded was 2 035 for week 40 and 1 026 for week 41 respectively.

eThekwini Metro Municipality had contributed 35% of the reported deaths , which amounted to 5 235 deaths, during the pandemic.

Zikalala said it was “tragic” that myths were preventing people from getting the Covid-19 vaccine.

“It is unthinkable and most unfortunate that, after so many lives have been lost to Covid-19 while we did not have a vaccine and when we eventually find it, people then become reluctant to come forward,” Zikalala said.

“They do not want to get protected against this deadly virus.  It is again most tragic and unfortunate that all the myths, lies and misconceptions that some people have been spreading about the safety of the Covid-19 vaccine, seem to have found fertile ground in the hearts and minds of many people,” he said.

He said this was despite the large body of scientific evidence that pointed to the safety and efficacy of the vaccines.

“As a result of this, only about 2,997 598 million or 29% of all people from KwaZulu-Natal who are eligible, have come forward and got vaccinated,” Zikalala said.

He urged people to get vaccinated before the festive season.

“We still have the opportunity to change our hearts and minds and get vaccinated in large numbers, so that we reach our target of 7,2 million vaccinations come end of December 2021.  We are pleading with all citizens to come forward and encourage their friends and family to also get vaccinated, so that we can contribute meaningfully towards helping our country reach population immunity,” Zikalala said.

“Our participation and support of the vaccination effort is crucial because of our high population numbers as the second-biggest province in the country,” he said.