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South Africa to offer Covid jabs at polling stations

South Africa said Friday it will set up 1,000 vaccination sites at selected polling stations during next week’s local government elections to offer voters a chance to get a shot after casting ballots.

The country — the continent’s worst hit by the coronavirus pandemic — votes on Monday to elect municipal councillors and mayors.

The electoral commission had tried postponing the polls because of the pandemic, but the Constitutional Court dismissed the bid, ordering that they be held on November 1.

Around 1,000 vaccination sites will be set up around some of the 23,000 polling stations, targeting areas where inoculation uptake has been low.

“We hope this arrangement will offer convenience” for people who will have travelled to cast their ballots, “to vaccinate in one trip”, Health Minister Joe Phaahla told journalists.

Slightly over 12 million people are now fully vaccinated, around 30 percent of adults in South Africa.

The country, which has recorded more than 2.92 million cases including 89,100 fatalities, is targeting 40 percent of the adult population by end of November.

The World Health Organisation on Thursday said unless there is a significant acceleration in administering shots, only five African countries, will reach the target of 40 percent of populations vaccinated by the end of the year.