- The government does not provide transport for people who live far from Covid-19 vaccination sites
- Community healthcare workers are, however, taking note of those who need to be vaccinated at home
- Researchers recommend that government comes up with a plan to provide transport to vaccination sites
As the second phase of South Africa's vaccination programme is underway for people over 60 years of age, the government is, however, not providing transport for people who live far from vaccine sites.
"We urge people with the means of transport in communities to help their neighbours and other community members with transportation to vaccination sites," says the national department of health spokesperson Popo Maja.
The department says that seriously ill and bedridden people can arrange for healthcare workers to visit their home to get the jab.
"We make special arrangements for home vaccination, especially for those who are unable to come to the sites due to seriousness of their health conditions," Maja says.
However, to meet the criteria for a home visit, Maja says that the patients' health conditions include being bedridden and unable or too old and sick to walk. The department is working closely with Community Healthcare Workers to identify these people.
Maja also says that people can speak to the Community Healthcare Workers in their communities or authorities at vaccination sites or health facilities about arranging a home vaccination visit. Alternatively, they can contact the call centre at 0800 029 999.
Inequality in the vaccination programme
A recent study by the University of Johannesburg reported by News24 found that the Covid-19 vaccination programme discriminates against the poor.
The research, which was conducted in Protea North, Soweto, found that people in informal settlements do not have the money to travel to get vaccinated, or adequate access to register for vaccination.
The report found that people would have to spend the little money they have for food on transport to get to a vaccination site.
One of the report's findings found that it would cost on average R44 for a round trip to the clinic, which is unaffordable for most study participants.
The researchers recommended that the government put an official transport plan in place to get people to vaccination sites.