Seniors getting jab despite shortages

False Bay Hospital staff outside the vaccination clinic.

The province has officially entered its third wave of Covid-19 infections, with the Cape Town metro recording 2 320 new cases last week – a 55% increase from the week before.

The trends were noted across all health sub-districts in the metro, said the City’s mayoral committee member for community services and health, Zahid Badroodien.

And just as the vaccine roll-out gained momentum, the provincial government said it had received fewer vaccines from national government and would have to cut its weekly target of 120 000 vaccinations to just 70 000.

According to the Western Cape Department of Health, since the first vaccination roll-out in February, a total number of 259 618 people have been vaccinated, of which 91 732 are health-care workers and 167 886 are a combination of health-care workers and persons over the age of 60, as of Friday June11.

The provincial government said it had received 49 140 vaccines on Thursday June 10, fewer than the previous week, so those with confirmed appointments would be prioritised, meaning fewer walk-ins would be accommodated.

False Bay Hospital opened its vaccination clinic on Monday May 31 and has been vaccinating an average of 150 people a day with the two-dose Pfizer vaccine, from 8am to 3pm.

Hospital acting head Warren Caesar said they had sufficient vaccines to maintain those numbers this week.

Walk-ins were placed on a list and called to come in should there be an opening. Where someone had received an appointment SMS but their spouse who was with them had not, the spouse would be vaccinated as well. And locals with an appointment at an out-of-area location could also be vaccinated at False Bay.

People who had had any other vaccinations, such as flu vaccines, should wait at least 14-days before getting their Covid-19 vaccine, he said.

At the clinic, there are two queue marshals, admin interns and six vaccinators who rotate daily between the clinic and the hospital. Patients must wait for 15 minutes in an observation area post-vaccination and can be treated in the clinic’s emergency room if they have an adverse reaction.

Jo Williams had her vaccination during the Echo’s visit on Tuesday June 8. Her SMS had directed her to Beaconvale Frail Care Centre in Mitchell’s Plain, but, due to a hand injury, she could not drive there, and she said she was relieved she could go to False Bay Hospital.

Jeanette Lawrence, from Ocean View, was also vaccinated on Tuesday.

“I didn’t feel anything,” she said. “It was quick and painless, and I’m so relieved now. I don’t want to get sick, and I want to be around for my children.”

Since the phase 2 roll-out last month, 38 Nerina Gardens residents have been vaccinated at DP Marais Hospital and False Bay Hospital.

Nerina Gardens manager Sandy Lovick said health authorities had assured them they would be coming to Nerina Gardens and Carlisle Lodge to vaccinate those who were unable to get to the vaccination sites.

Pat Lambrechts, the nursing manager at St James Retirement Hotel, said all their residents were registered and would be vaccinated at the hotel on Monday June 21. They had secured a block booking due to the frailty of some of the residents.

The hotel had had four positive Covid-19 cases during the first wave and one during the second wave with no fatalities, she said.

“Our residents are very excited about getting vaccinated.”

Peers Village general manager Jason van Veyeren said they had a block booking on Tuesday last week but the department had run out of vaccines and had cancelled the appointment the day before.

That, he said, had caused great anxiety among residents so they had decided to bus them to various vaccination sites.

“We do two trips a day and more than 75% of our residents have been vaccinated,” he said.

Residents at the Evergreen Lifestyle Centre in Muizenberg were vaccinated on Tuesday and Wednesday June 1 and 2 and those at the Noordhoek complex on Monday and Tuesday June 7 and 8.

Evergreen Lifestyle managing director Garry Reed said the vaccine roll-out meant there was finally light at the end of the tunnel.

“It has been extremely gratifying to facilitate the vaccination of all Evergreen residents,” he said. “We’re thrilled to be able to lift the burden of stress and restore our residents’ hope and enjoyment of life.”

Jeanette Lawrence getting her vaccination from nurse Pamela Jekwqa while admin intern Lacal Arendse looks on.
Jo Williams getting checked in by admin intern Esi Madolo.
Nerina Gardens residents at DP Marais Hospital.
Residents of Peers Village en route to their vaccination site.