Most Eastern Cape elderly in the EC express happiness at their treatment at COVID-19 vaccination centres

Most Eastern Cape elderly in the EC express happiness at their treatment at COVID-19 vaccination centresCovid-19 vaccine. (Photo by Braňo on Unsplash)

Last week, from Monday, the Eastern Cape health department ramped up its vaccination drive in an effort to meet its target of vaccinating 4,5 million people.

Read More

This follows a lull in vaccination the previous week as most vaccination centres had to close due to shortage of doses. However, about 76 000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine arrived in the province last weekend, resulting in the opening up of three additional vaccination centres at Ubuntu Pathways in Zwide township and Bethelsdorp Community Hall (both in Gqebhera), and Tamboville in Kariega, formerly Uitenhage.

The province has been experiencing an increase in infection cases, with the Nelson Mandela Bay region again being the hotspot similar to what occurred during the second wave. The region is registering over 700 cases a week.

In his monthly COVID-19 update, Premier Oscar Mabuyane last Wednesday said health experts expect the third wave to hit the province mid June.

“The red zone areas are now Nelson Mandela Bay and Sarah Baartman region. We are rerouting resources to these areas because thats where they are needed most,” said Mabuyane.

Elderly at vaccination centres

Last week Tuesday, Health-e News went on a snap survey to various vaccination centres, which included old-age homes to see how the vaccination process was going. Most elderly people, although they were walk-ins, expressed satisfaction at the manner they were treated by healthcare workers, and saying the process went fast and smoothly.

“I arrived here at 10am, and even though the queue looked long, it was moving very fast,” said Meng Majola, 74, at the Kwanobuhle vaccination centre at Kariega.

“Imagine, I am a walk-in, I did not have an appointment but I was inoculated because I was registered,” said Majola as she leaned on her walking stick preparing to go back home.

Ernest Budaza, 67, said he arrived at Provincial Hospital in Gqebhera at 6am, two hours before the centre opened.

“Since I did not have an appointment, I thought it would be wise to arrive early. As you can see, am the 10th person in the queue. The healthcare workers here are very polite and caring,” he said as he shuffled forward to keep up with the moving queue.

By 9am, Budaza had received his jab.

No ‘hiccups’

At St Georges Hospital, the vaccination centre is situated in the hospital underground parking lot. Elderly people were seen sitting on chairs waiting for their turns.

Mariska Philander, 79, sat patiently with a warm rug thrust over her shoulders protecting her from the chilly weather.

“I was here at 6.30am, but look am almost there. The queue is moving and there are no hiccups. In less than 15 minutes I will be done. I was looking forward to this vaccination, and am very happy I got it,” said Philander.

Health experts at Nelson Mandela University expressed concern at the lack of urgency from the national health department in distributing sufficient doses to different areas.

Centre for Community Technologies director Professor Darelle van Gruenen, said: “The concern is that the vaccine rollout will not stay ahead of the third wave judging by the sharp increase in infection numbers.” – Health-e News