Video report by ITV News Senior International Correspondent John Irvine
It’s a cruel irony that the people most in need of coronavirus vaccines are among the hardest to reach.
When it comes to Covid-19, South Africa’s scenic Eastern Cape is the deadliest place in the world.
According to the South African Medical Research Council, at its height back in December, the illness killed one in 300 people here and 40% of those tested had Covid.
To blame are poverty, limited health services, and the fact that it was in the Eastern Cape that the highly-contagious South African variant originated in August last year.
In and around the remote area of Bulungula there are no paved roads and nearly no cars.
A charity called Bulungula Incubator has opened a small clinic so that locals have some access to medical attention this side of a river they otherwise have to be rowed across to attend a government medical centre on the other side.
Back in 2017, the charity set up a radio station which has become a vital information service for people now being made ready for a vaccine roll-out that will be a logistical nightmare.
Experts predict it will take more than a decade to vaccinate three-quarters of South Africa’s population. In the Eastern Cape it’s not hard to see why this prediction is accurate.
The prohibitive distances people have to trek to reach any kind of medical attention suggest the vaccine will have to reach them rather than the other way round.