We asked News24 readers to share their vaccination journeys. You can read their stories below as well as analysis and opinion.
We would also like to hear about your experience. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include a photograph if possible.
26 Jul 2021
Covid-19 vaccination: people aged 18-34 to be jabbed from 1 September
People between the ages of 18 and 34 will be vaccinated from 1 September. The announcement comes as the younger group thought they would have to wait much longer. They can be vaccinated without booking an appointment.
26 Jul 2021
PIC: Getting jabbed in Zandspruit
A person receives their Covid-19 jab at Zandspruit vaccination site in Johannesburg. (Photo by Gallo Images/Luba Lesolle)
20 Jul 2021
I am a second-year Clinical Technology student at DUT. Around the beginning of June, DUT had organised for all the students within the faculty to receive their vaccines. Having my friends and colleagues around made the experience more enjoyable. We all arrived at King Edward Hospital and filled in our forms.
We were escorted around by security guards, which helped us a lot as none of us had been there before. This also made us less stressed out. Everyone had been so approachable and kind to us. The nurse that had given me my vaccine was extremely friendly and she could notice how nervous I was. She didn't hesitate and knew exactly how to calm me down, which I really appreciated.
The process was quick and painless! We were then required to be observed for a few minutes to check if any symptoms or complications arise.
I had initially been very reluctant to take the vaccine, but after reading news reports and listening to others experiences, I was more informed and less reluctant. The statistics speak for themselves.
The only way to improve the state that our country quickly is to have a lot more people vaccinated quicker so that we can continue living our lives safely.
- Timara Naidoo in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal
20 Jul 2021
My husband and I were very impressed with the very professional and well organised mass vaccination service at the Cape Town International Conference Centre, which seemed to be managed by Discovery and Cape Provincial Health Department.
We were in and out for our second vaccine within an hour. All the staff were incredibly friendly and helpful, from the parking attendants to all the staff directing us with their waving flags.
We had driven into Cape Town from Hermanus because the appointment for our second jab in Gansbaai had been cancelled. Not sure why we were sent to Gansbaai, quite a distance away when there are at least five vaccination sites closer to Hermanus. We had then phoned Clicks in Hermanus, and they said we should come through straight away as a walk-in.
After waiting at Clicks for over an hour and a half, they informed us that they were only doing first vaccines as walk-ins. Information and friendly assistance were severely lacking!
So the next day, we drove through to Cape Town ICC, and so thankful that we have the resources to do so. What a wonderful experience.
- Alison Dehrmann in Hermanus, Western Cape
19 Jul 2021
It made me proud to be South Africa
I received an SMS to confirm my vaccination for 5 July 2021 at Dischem Parow Centre in Cape Town for those aged 50 and over category. I was so excited to receive my jab as it reminded me of the first time I was allowed to vote as a citizen of this country!
It was such a humbling experience. The staff were so professional and allayed any fears and concerns I had.
I felt so empowered and part of a broader community when I looked around at the number of people who turned up from different walks of life coming together at that moment for the greater good of this country.
That was my epiphany and I looked up towards the sky and whispered "Lord I am proud to be a South African!"
- Carmel Davids in Belhar, Cape Town
19 Jul 2021
They gave us our jabs in the car
Went to Santam. What a good decision. It was for my husband and me to get our second jab. We arrived there on a bitterly cold morning.
Before we could get out of the car we were approached by a sister who asked how old we were. My husband was busy taking my walker out of the car. The sister said we should remain in the car as it was too cold for us to get out. All the forms were brought to us and we did all the admin in the car.
Then a very friendly sister came to give us our jabs. Very painlessly. We were told the side effects we may have and then we're told to wait 15 minutes and if we had any problems to call them.
Fortunately, this wasn't necessary and we drove home very safely. I can't thank these wonderful people enough for making it such an effortless experience. Thank you all at Santam Houghton.
- Gertie Tobias in Johannesburg, Gauteng
09 Jul 2021
The first injection was a pleasant experience there at the hospital Bertha Gxowa hospital. The vaccination area was a bit of a challenge to find, but as brave hunters, we persevered and found it lurking in the old hospital grounds.
Once in the system only praise the staff. What delightful nurses. Afterwards, we both had a sore arm and a mild headache. Not too terrible for an asthma sufferer with hypertension.
The second injection saw us back with Bertha, but the organization had gone seriously pear-shaped. Four hours of standing in a queue for over 60s with no water or chairs is a bit like torture. One old duck fell on the uneven ground, but all those around her rallied to help.
She was shaken up and quite upset about her now dirty jacket, she told my husband and me when we walked with her to get her taxi.
We have to admit the nurses were stars. One even shared her cake and water. They make these old gals out of good stuff.
The second injection we had a slightly sore arm for us both, and as the forerunners of our group - we proved to be the rule, not the exception.
- Gail Gibson in Germiston, Gauteng
09 Jul 2021
Some of the teachers of Wynberg Girls' Junior School were so happy to be vaccinated today that we sang a little song! Here are the words (its difficult to hear the words because of the masks):
"So we can dine inside and go to concerts once again
V A C C I N A T I O N
So we can visit our granny on her next vacation
V A C C I N A T I O N
Vaccinate (we want it now)
Vaccinate (please learn how)
We want to sing and dance and play all day
So come along and thank a nurse and lift your sleeve up high:
VA C C I N A T I O N!"
- Colleen Hart in Cape Town, Western Cape
08 Jul 2021
A weight is off my shoulders
I felt so happy and a weight off my shoulders. The service from Discovery was absolutely incredible. I think that’s why I felt so elated.
From the time I walked in, everyone was friendly helpful.
There was an energy I have never felt before. It was amazing! I did not feel too great for 5 days but it was worth the effort.
- Charmaine Arendse
08 Jul 2021
A Proudly South African experience
On Friday 2 July I went to the discovery site at Gallagher Estate and was pleasantly surprised. I found the entire process extremely professional and the staff on duty were very helpful and competent.
Hands were sterilized at every change over point and waiting areas were clean and comfortable.
Inside the main vaccination building, the order was outstanding with the only inconvenience being the 15-minute waiting time for the vaccine to be prepared.
It was a truly proudly South African experience and it’s just a pity we couldn’t have been further down the vaccination journey by now.
- Charl Groenewald in Johannesburg, Gauteng
08 Jul 2021
My partner was allowed to take her service dog with her
We have a great experience at DP Marais TB hospital in Tokai, Western Cape. The organization was excellent.
My partner was allowed to take her service dog with her on the day she was due to get her shot, and the staff went all out to make it a pleasant experience for them.
I applaud their professionalism and their 'bedside manner' was extraordinary to such a degree that all the vaccination staff insisted on being photographed with her and her service dog.
A truly humbling experience and our heartfelt thanks to our very talented medical staff that are on the front line You are constantly in our thoughts and prayers. God bless you
- Dale Aitchison and Annie Roberts in Cape Town, Western Cape
07 Jul 2021
Standing in the sun just to be told there’s no vaccines left
I am a teacher from an independent school. So far my vaccination journey has been unpleasant. We were told to report to Alberton Civic Centre at 11:30 on Friday. The queue was ridiculous.
There was no social distancing nor anyone controlling people just arriving and pushing ahead in the queue with their colleagues. We stood in the sun at midday for two and a half hours. By two o'clock were still in the queue outside. An Ekurhuleni official then told us to leave as they had no vaccinations left.
- Charmaine van der Merwe in Gauteng
07 Jul 2021
It all went like clockwork
I live in a retirement home in Cape Town. We had our first dose vaccination here in the home where we live. A local pharmacy set it up for us and there was no need for us to travel anywhere to get our shots.
We merely had to go downstairs and were processed by kind and efficient people. It all went like clockwork and we were done in no time at all. Many thanks to all concerned.
- Jean and Andre Green in Cape Town, Western Cape
07 Jul 2021
It didn’t hurt at all!
I had the most amazing vaccine experience. I registered on the Discovery site as they are my Medical Aid provider. Then I registered on the Government site.
I received a link from a friend to register and book a vaccine appointment via the Dischem site, which I did. Got an appointment at Bayside Mall, Tableview, Cape Town the next afternoon between 14h00 and 16h00.I arrived at 3 pm, filled in the form. Waited about 15 mins in a queue with seating provided indoors. They converted one of the shops that closed down into a Covid Vaccination station.
Everything ran so smoothly and the nurse that helped me was AMAZING beyond words. So kind, gentle and caring. After explaining the Pfizer vaccine to me and filling in my medical details, she gave me my vaccine. It didn't hurt at all!
I then moved to the waiting area where I remained for 15 mins and after taking a pic, I was ready to leave.
Wow! Well done Dischem and nursing staff what an awesome experience that ran so smoothly. The only side effect I have felt is a very soar and lame left arm as well a bit tired, but otherwise all good!
- Liesl Swartz from Cape Town, Western Cape
06 Jul 2021
Despite no doors, it was a fantastic experience
I live in a very small town called Mooi River in KwaZulu-Natal. Our local public health clinic operates from a building that has not been completed and has no doors, windows or ceilings....but the most professional and efficient staff you could ask for!
A fantastic experience both times for the Pfizer vaccine. They deserve a huge pat on the back for their professionalism in difficult circumstances now and in their daily duties.
- Kathleen Boast from Mooi River in KwaZulu-Natal
06 Jul 2021
Had never had such good service at any hospital
I registered my helper and took her in May together with my parents for her first vaccine. We awaited the six weeks after SMS for the second dose, called the site of the first vaccine to make sure I could take her.
We arrived at seven and waited two hours, when we had to produce SMS they told us she could not be vaccinated there as she doesn’t have medical aid. We called the hotline and was informed to take her where SMS directed her to.
It was at the Clinic Selby Hospital. Got there at 10 and oh my word, have “never” received such good service at any hospital - even private. We were scanned, handed new masks and they had clear markings and very friendly staff to assist. They monitored the process and explained everything - it was flawless.
I told them that I had registered as over 50 earlier in the morning, they checked the system and told me I could go through for my first vaccine.
Just a special thanks to Solomon Stix Morewa Memorial Hospital for their top service. There were hardly any people there to be vaccinated and the previous site had very long queues and was turning over the age of sixty away without medical aid. Very sad!
- Errolene de Klerk in Johannesburg, Gauteng
06 Jul 2021
Hope my second jab go as well
I registered my mother, husband and myself. We live in Retreat in Cape Town. My mum is a state pensioner, my husband and I are on medical aid.
My mom received an appointment for vaccination in Strand which is very far from where she lives. I received two appointments for Bellville and my husband for Constantia. I tried to walk in with my husband but was informed via phone that only appointments were dealt with at Constantia.
I went to DP Marais Hospital in Retreat and was welcomed with open arms and told to bring my husband along. Arrived there at 11:30 and walked out at 14:00. In the time we were probably sanitised about 12 times. What a beautiful experience.
The staff were very professional and friendly. Hope to have my second jab there as well. Well done DP Marais.
- Brigitte Francis in Retreat, Cape Town
05 Jul 2021
My mom aged 90 and living in Northwest Province was registered on EVDS on 5 May 2021. By mid-June, we have received no SMS. I reregistered her on 18 June. By the 25th of June, we had still not received an SMS.
I called the hotline who confirmed that she was registered. We were also told to be patient. We became despondent and decided to take her to Dischem after the president's latest address and she finally received her 1st vaccination.
- Matina Capitani in Skeerpoort, Northwest Province.
05 Jul 2021
We were told ‘time doesn’t work here’
We received our message at 22:29 on 31 of May about being at the vaccination point between 8-10 am on the first of June. Neither my husband nor I slept well that evening. I think we were both so excited about getting vaccinated.
Had to find the location on Google because we didn’t know where it was. Thank goodness for Google maps we got there after an hour-long trip.
We arrived at the Dr CN Phatudi hospital at 8:30 to see a long queue had already formed outside the gate. We stood in the queue for 20 minutes and barely moved. My husband went to ask the security guard at the gate why it was going so slow as our ‘appointment’ was for 8-10 am and he was told that ‘times don’t work here’.
There were queues outside the gate (the one we were in) and two tent roofs put up inside the hospital grounds where people were also queuing to get vaccinated. We decided to phone one of the pharmacies in town because I had seen that they also do vaccinations. My son phoned the pharmacy and they said we can come into town but might have to wait as we don’t have an appointment there.
Arrived in town at the pharmacy to be told they can only vaccinate us if we have medical aid which unfortunately we don’t have. We offered to pay for the vaccinations but were told that it isn’t allowed. They were helpful though because the lady helping us phoned somewhere else and told us not to worry if we missed the appointment we would receive another appointment, I should just recheck our registration.
On the EVDS website, I also read that they would contact people who ‘missed’ their appointment with another date and time. That was ten days ago and we’ve not heard anything again, we are worried that we won’t get any notifications again.
I’m so disappointed.
- Lynette Venter in Letsitele, Limpopo
05 Jul 2021
What a relief to take the first step
We are both in our 70's and received our first jab on 2 June. After giving up on the booking system, or locating a private service provider in this neck of the wood, we took ourselves to Escourt hospital. We were apprehensive, but the experience turned out to be an absolute breeze. The staff were friendly, chatty, reassuring and completely professional. What a relief to have taken the first step.
- Ann and Bill Harper in Champagne Valley, KwaZulu Natal
02 Jul 2021
The second vaccinating experience not as convenient as first
My wife was scheduled for her second jab at Bertha Gxowa (Germiston Hospital) on Tuesday 29th June between 08h00 and 10h00 where we had our first jabs on 18 May which was well organised.
Neighbours had been there on the 28th June and it took them 1 hour. We arrived on 29th June at 08h30 and could not find parking and the queue was out the gate with no social distancing. We left and went to Boksburg Civic Centre. What a pleasure! Took us an hour.
Neighbours who had been at Bertha Gxowa were there from 08h00 till 12h00. Staff arrived late and they were still prepping jabs at 09h00. Queues came to a standstill for an hour at one stage. There was no seating for the elderly. Absolute chaos. Management needs to investigate.
- Kevin Townsend from Germiston, Gauteng
02 Jul 2021
Such a humbling experience to receive the vaccine
I am a teacher in East London and I have been teaching for 23 years. I was very sceptical when we were told that teachers would be getting their vaccinations.
My school's allocated day arrived and I went to one of the High School venues to receive my jab. From start to finish it took an hour and a half. The admin and nursing staff were so efficient and I honestly couldn't fault the process at all.
I wasn't however, prepared for how I would feel after having the vaccine.
I had a few of the common side effects, but what I felt more than anything else was how humbling the whole experience was. To think that I was able to receive the vaccine before literally millions of other South Africans got theirs. And to think of how many millions of people worldwide have died without it.
- Lynn Kleynhans in East London, Eastern Cape
01 Jul 2021
The nurse came out to do the vaccination for my disabled husband in the car
I registered my husband and myself immediately when we were able to. Imagine my excitement when at 10 pm on the Sunday night before the first day of vaccinations for the over 60’s started, an SMS arrived for each of us for an appointment the next morning between 8 and 10.
I read the venue. It was a clinic somewhere outside Bronkhorstspruit, we are in Roodepoort. It is at best a 90-minute drive. My husband is disabled and 80 and I am 74.
We made many efforts to contact the department, even eventually speaking to a human being, but they were more confused than we were. Discovery Health, who we had also registered with at their request, were if anything even worse.
Eventually, through a contact, we did a walk-in. It was extremely efficient and especially for my disabled and frail husband, they came out to the car to get the details and the nurse came to do the vaccination. Hats off to the staff.
- Rosemary Mocke in Roodepoort, Gauteng
01 Jul 2021
The public hospital felt like a private hospital - incredible service
Yesterday, we received an SMS that my mom and uncle have been scheduled for their vaccination. It felt like it was a dream. When I broke the news to them, my uncle's excitement shuttered me. I wasn't aware how Covid worried him. At the age of 70, he was up by 05:30 ready to get his vaccination. I watched them as they took their comorbidities medication and we hit the road.
When we got to the hospital the queue was already long and my fragile uncle, whom I know can't stand for long, was just standing and waiting patiently. Hardly 10 minutes into the vaccination site, he was offered a chair from one of the consulting rooms which appeared not to be used. In front of us, there were about 100+ people and I asked my uncle and mother if they wanted to wait or if we should come back another time.
My mom (66 years old) said postponing it will only put us at more risk of dying from Covid. So we waited. And as the day went by I was amazed by their determination to get their vaccine. Nurses and other support staff were very professional and treated each patient with courtesy and patience. Their respect for elderly patients was on point.
There was no favouritism: each patient waited for his or her turn - with or without medical aid. The area was clean and well ventilated with enough sanitisers. Six hours of moving from one station to the next, according to my uncle and mother, felt like 15 minutes away from being liberated from the fear of contracting Covid-19.
In the end, they even told me how sceptical they were initially when I told them I'm taking them to a public facility. But as of today their trust has been restored by the staff at Boitumelo Hospital in Kroonstad. And they said they wouldn't mind recommending the hospital to anyone as the attitude and the hospital’s treatment towards patients have drastically changed over the years. I was also impressed it really felt like a private facility!
- Seipati Duma in Kroonstad, Free State
30 Jun 2021
The second vaccination experience was the complete opposite of first
As well organised and efficient as getting the first vaccination was, getting the second was and is exactly the opposite. Scheduled by DOH and received SMS for 08:00 to 10:00 slot. Arrived at 07:30 Eersterus CDC Tshwane. Total chaos. Disorganised, many queues, disorganised and simply a DOH organised super-spreader event. Serious lack of communication to waiting rows of people. If I could tell you more I would.
- Sakkie Hurd in Tshwane, Gauteng
30 Jun 2021
Pleasantly surprised by how well organised it was
As a senior with several co-morbidities who registered on the Dept of Health(DoH) website on 18 April, I was pleased to receive the SMS from the DoH to get my first injection of the Pfizer vaccine at Dischem Pharmacy, Fourways Mall on 15 June. There were a lot of people in the queue, all masked and socially distanced, but the whole process was handled efficiently and speedily by friendly and helpful assistants in 50 minutes. They checked our cellphones for confirmation of the booking, handed out the DoH forms on clipboards with attached pens, and helped anyone who needed help in completing the form. We were given the dates and Codes for the second injection. I was pleasantly surprised at how well organised it was and how cheerful and friendly all those involved were.
- Maureen Kirkman in Johannesburg, Gauteng
29 Jun 2021
Such a pleasant experience, I am even looking forward to my next vaccination
I had my vaccine in Douglasdale. I was an hour early for my appointment. I was taken to the waiting queue. Ten minutes later all documents were completed and moved to the next queue. The personnel was friendly and explained everything to me. Five mintes later I was in the vaccination cubicle and after answering a few questions I was taken to another waiting area to ensure that I had no allergic reaction. I left the premises in less than half an hour. I was so impressed. Because I was warned about side effects, I was waiting for it to start but it never happened. I'm looking forward to the follow-up vaccine.
- Lizette Roos in Pretoria
29 Jun 2021
After weeks of waiting on an SMS, we were vaccinated by simply walking in
I am 74 years old and my wife 70. My wife has had 2 stents fitted and medically checked every 6 months as she suffers from severe asthma. I have had a bypass in my left leg due to thrombosis.
We both registered on the government Covid-19 website on 17.04.2021 and received confirmation, via SMS, that we were registered on 17.04.2021 and were advised that we would be contacted via SMS regarding the next steps. The following week we also registered with Discovery Health as advised by them.
After hearing of friends who had registered long after us and had received notification, via SMS, of their vaccination date I followed up with Discovery and our local clinic in Plettenberg Bay and was advised that we would be notified by SMS from the department. This was on 26.05.2021. I was advised by the clinic either to wait for the SMS or try to do a walk-in but there was no guarantee that they would have vaccines available. Further that we should arrive at 06h00 and they opened at 09h00.
I was given the Covid Hotline number 080002999. I phoned the number on 26.05.2021 and was advised that I was registered on their system and must wait for the SMS.
On 11.06.2021 I spoke to Precious on the hotline and she confirmed that we were registered and to wait for the SMS. She indicated that they had a glitch on the system in early May and that may be the reason that we had not received an SMS and suggested she re-register us but could not guarantee that we would not be put at the back of the queue. Hence decided to wait.
After hearing other friends who had registered a week ago, on Monday the 14.06.2021 and had already received their appointment date for Friday the 18.06.2021 and other friends who also registered long after us had already received their SMS notification and been for their vaccination I again phone the Hotline. The response was that they did not know how the system works but can re-register us but we would go to the back of the queue or continue waiting for the SMS.
On 22.06.2021 again phoned the hotline and spoke to Letlanshe and she advised that we should “patiently ”wait for the SMS and not compare ourselves to other citizens when queried that friends who had registered long after us had received their SMS.
We then decided to try and do a “walk-in” and went to the clinic on 25.06.2021. we arrived at 05h50 and became no, 23 and 24 in the queue. We were finally vaccinated and left at 10h40 – nearly 5 hours later. There were 2 queues, one for walk-ins and one for appointments.
A number of people in the walk-in queue had also registered some time ago and not received their SMS but had registered later than us. 4 people in the appointment queue had registered in the last week (two younger than me, 1 older and 1 the same age) and had already received their SMS for an appointment. I checked with them on a random basis. There were several 80-year-olds and disabled in the bitter cold also in the walk-in queue. Mercifully they were taken to the front of the queue.
- Andrew Vermaak in Plettenberg Bay, Western Cape
24 Jun 2021
PIC: Teachers in Tembisa get the jab
Nurses at the Rabasotho Community Hallo vaccination site prepare to vaccinate teachers and staff on 23 June, 2021 in Tembisa. The vaccination rollout for teachers will end on 8 July. (Photo by Gallo Images/Sharon Seretlo)
23 Jun 2021
PIC: Waiting to be vaccinated in Paarl
Recipients wait for their Covid vaccine at Mbekweni Community Hall Vaccination Site on 22 June, 2021 in Paarl. (Photo by Gallo Images/ER Lombard)
23 Jun 2021
Second time lucky, with a dash of Irish charm thrown in
When it was announced that over 60's would be getting their vaccines during phase two of the vaccine rollout, there was a palpable sense of excitement in the Henry household.
It's hard not to be somewhat cynical about our government's ability to deliver on its commitments, but we live in hope. When my wife received her SMS telling her to report to Milpark on 31 May, we let out a massive sigh of relief which was marginally dampened by the fact that only one of us would be getting the vaccine despite both of us registering at the same time.
I went along with my wife to keep her company and in the vain hope that maybe some Irish charm would see us both vaccinated.
Everyone was in great spirits. In some ways, the atmosphere reminded me of queuing to vote in our country's first democratic election 27 years ago. Alas, the Irish charm failed, so I waited outside while my wife went through to the vaccination area.
Due to a failure in the approval chain between our medical aid and the Milpark pharmacy, my wife didn't get the jab. After four hours in the freezing cold, our spirits were low. I then spent hours in contact with our medical aid's call centre before the problem was sorted.
The next day there was no queue at Milpark, and both of us were vaccinated in under an hour - yes, the Irish charm worked this time – and our faith in the programme is back to "optimistic".
- Paul and Sharon Henry, Johannesburg
23 Jun 2021
We've declared war on Covid, so where is the wartime efficiency for vaccine rollout?
It was hoped that we wouldn't be hard-hit by the third wave, but that is proving not to be the case as the country battles a slow vaccine rollout. Mandy Wiener writes that government needs to implement a wartime efficiency if we are going to ensure we are not hit by further waves.
21 Jun 2021
I was finally helped at Charlotte Maxeke
I successfully registered for my Covid-19 vaccination with the Department of Health as well as with my Medical aid, Discovery Health, on 17 May 2021. I duly received SMS for my vaccination appointment on 8 June at Lonehill Clicks Pharmacy but unfortunately had to travel for business to Cape Town and thus couldn’t keep the appointment. I contacted the department and was informed that it would be rescheduled.
However, with the rising 3rd wave in Gauteng and not having received a reschedule, I decided to do a walk-in and so on Friday 18 June, I reported to Discovery 1 in Sandton but was summarily (and very brusquely) turned away because I didn’t have "the SMS" directing me for vaccination to that venue on that day.
Out of frustration, I phoned a friend who suggested that I go to the Charlotte Maxeke Hospital vaccination station. With trepidation, I went there expecting queues and lousy service.
My delight at arriving there and finding no queue was exceeded by the friendly and helpful staff, from the ladies doing the registration process - even completing my form when I made a mistake on it - to the reassuring sister May who administered my vaccine.
The whole process, from entering the building to post-injection briefing took 45 minutes - these ladies are to be applauded!
Thank you to each and everyone who made the experience literally painless.
- Ré Storm, Johannesburg
21 Jun 2021
PIC: Elders in Soweto getting their Covid-19 jabs
Last week Friday, elders were vaccinated at Meadowlands Community Centre Vaccination Site in Soweto. The health department launched phase two of the vaccination rollout programme which aims to vaccinate citizens older than 60. (Photo by Gallo Images/Papi Morake)
21 Jun 2021
Residents at retirement village told to find own way to vaccination site
My 87-year-old mother-in-law was told at the retirement village to come to the frail care section where they would receive the vaccine. But, on arrival, they were told that only frail care patients were going to get vaccinated and that the rest must find their own way to a vaccination site.
I was quite surprised as these elderly people were kept in safety for months to then be told to leave their homes.
I took her to the Boksburg Civic Centre. What a wonderful experience!
The elderly were helped quickly, and the very friendly and efficient staff was wonderful. She must now return on 19 July for the second injection.
On Friday, they were told that no one is allowed to visit them and that they are not allowed to leave the premises due to the third wave of Covid. I am waiting in anticipation to see how this little hurdle will be overcome.
- Isolde Bayne, Boksburg
11 Jun 2021
A wonderful experience in Houghton
My husband and I had the most fantastic experience when we went for our vaccines on Wednesday, 9 June. Having registered on 19 April 2021, we had still not received an SMS to get our jabs. We decided to try out Sanlam in Houghton, which is a vaccination site.
We arrived there at 11:30 and left at 12:30. No queue at all! We walked straight in, showed them our registration confirmation, filled in the relevant documents, produced our identity documents and medical aid cards. The longest part was the 15 minutes, where you have to sit and wait to see if you have any side effects.
We were asked to please send the Over 60's to this site. For info, it is Sanlam, 13 West Street, Houghton. They are there from 08:00 - 16:00 daily.
Highly recommended, professional and compassionate staff!
- Basie and Jill Vorster, Johannesburg
11 Jun 2021
We got our text message but vaccinations weren't happening
My wife and I were chuffed to receive SMS's on Saturday, 29 May to be at Impala pharmacy on Sunday, 30 May.
We started in the Phokeng area in the North West where google sent us. We arrived at a house where there was a tent where a religious sermon was taking place. We noticed other people had arrived who were not a part of the congregation. We then decided to travel in a convoy after we were told the pharmacy closed many years ago.
Eventually, we landed up at Impala mine hospital and thought, "Eureka we found it", after a 2-hour journey. However, there was more disappointment after we were told the day had been cancelled.
We don't want to make another 40 km trip for nothing, so we have been leaving voice mails at the numbers given to us but with no luck. We are prepared to go anywhere, but walk-ins are few and far between in this part of the world.
- Cobus Hopley, North West
11 Jun 2021
My appointment date was a Sunday when no vaccinations were being administered
I received an SMS last Thursday to inform me that I should go to Wentworth hospital on Sunday, 6 June, between 10:00-12:00 for my vaccination. I was given a number and told to produce this with my ID book.
Upon arrival at the hospital, we were told that the vaccination process was not happening on the weekend. I sent an SMS to the number I found on the health department website but kept getting the response that delivery had failed. I used the Whatsapp number, and while the message was delivered it was not read. I then called the inquiry number that was on the text message I had received notifying me of my appointment. I was told I had missed my appointment but would get another appointment date.
I did not miss my appointment. The site was not functioning. Why on earth give someone an appointment on a day when vaccinations are not being administered?
- Barry Wegener, Durban, KwaZulu-Natal
11 Jun 2021
We left the hospital after seeing long queues
We received our message late on 31 May to be at the vaccination site on 1 June. Neither my husband nor I slept well that evening because I think we were both so excited.
We had to find the location on Google because we didn't know where it was. We arrived at the Dr CN Phatudi Hospital in Polokwane after an hour-long trip to find a long queue outside the gate. We stood in the line for 20 minutes, which barely moved. My husband went to ask the security guard at the gate why it was going so slow as our 'appointment' was for between 8:00-10:00. He was told that 'times don't work here'.
There were queues outside the gate (the one we were in) and near two tents. We decided to phone one of the pharmacies in town because I had seen that they also do vaccinations. My son phoned the pharmacy and they said we can come but might have to wait as we don't have an appointment there.
Upon arrival at the pharmacy, we were told we couldn't get vaccinated as we don't have medical aid. We offered to pay for the vaccinations but were told this isn't allowed. Staff at the pharmacy were helpful, though, and helped us to phone elsewhere. We were told not to worry if we missed the appointment as we would receive another appointment.
On the EVDS website, I also read that they would contact people who 'missed' their appointment with another date and time. That was ten days ago. We still have not heard anything, and we are worried we won't be notified again.
- Lynette Venter, Letsitele near Tzaneen.
07 Jun 2021
A pleasant experience for my 100-year-old mother
When Covid-19 vaccinations came to Ballito there was a huge turnout of over 60s eager to get their jab. I took my 100-year-old mother to the venue in torrential rain.
We provided much laughter for those in the rain-soaked queue, as I tried to steer my hard of hearing mother in the right direction.
"Keep going!" I yelled, "Keep going! Turn left! Turn left!"
Luckily she was placed right in the front of the queue, and we were allowed to sit in the scout hall where tables and chairs were set out in readiness for the rush of pensioners.
There was certainly no sign of reluctance or hesitancy in this crowd of wet people.
During the second covid wave, six people in my mother's frail care home had died from the disease, l was determined that she would get vaccinated as soon as possible. What a relief it was for her to be finally free of the fear of contracting this terrible disease.
- Gill Land, Ballito
05 Jun 2021
Too much handwritten paperwork makes system slow
We got the first of two jabs at a Free State provincial hospital on Thursday as we registered walk-ins.
The system quickly found our details online, the actual jabs were quick, but the rest of the process was too slow and there was too much handwritten paperwork.
If this administration process is not automated, South Africa can forget about vaccinating 40 million people this year.
- Peter How, Free State
04 Jun 2021
No luck as a walk-in
My wife and I, as pensioners aged 66 years, have had a negative experience to date.mWe registered and received a confirmation SMS on 17 April. Since then, we have heard nothing.
We went to the Helderberg Hospital in Somerset West where we were told that if you queue at 16:00 you could receive a vaccination if there is a surplus on the day. We tried on Wednesday 26 May and waited from 13:30 to 14:45 for any news with about 50 others in the queue. A hospital representative explained there was no certainty of getting a vaccine as a walk-in. As a walk-in you have to arrive by 07:30 and queue until 11:00 to get a number and then return before 16:00, where hopefully you will get helped. Injections for those with appointments only start at 13:00.
I returned on Monday, 31 May at 07:00 and was second in the queue. We waited in the rain and cold only to be told that there would be no vaccines for walk-ins for the week.
We confirmed that Mediclinic Vergelegen in Somerset West which is near our home is an inoculation site. However, they weren't ready as they are yet to receive vaccines.
Something is seriously wrong with the Western Cape process. We have friends in Gauteng that have already got their jabs.
- Dirk Voigt, Western Cape
04 Jun 2021
SA’s vaccine rollout passes the 1 million mark – here’s which provinces are leading the race
South Africa’s vaccine rollout has passed an important milestone by reaching more than one million people at the start of June. As the daily number of doses administered picked up – after a dismally low levels between February and May – the health department has released its first provincial breakdown of cumulative jabs.
03 Jun 2021
Appointment system makes no sense
As an "over sixty" who is registered for the vaccine, I was astonished on Saturday to receive an appointment to present myself at my local Clicks this week. It was painless and professionally given. But can someone please explain to me why my health caregiver spouse who registered in February, as well as a local doctor and even the pharmacist at Clicks who handled my registration still have not received their message from the government registration for an appointment?
How can Phase 2 be activated before Phase 1 is complete?
Next to me was a woman who was told to attend my local Clicks when she has one just one kilometre from where she lives. She asked if it could be changed but was told it couldn't, so she had to travel 120kms round trip to come to my Clicks.
I am not comfortable receiving my vaccine before those who are here to care for us have theirs.
The entire rollout seems to be a lottery based on a computer somewhere with no explanations for how it works. Perhaps the media can get some answers for the millions of South Africans who truly have no idea what criteria the government has entered into their computer? Especially for those health care workers still waiting for their vaccine.
Stay safe everyone.
- Andrew Satow, Western Cape
03 Jun 2021
It was more of a celebration than a medical procedure
My Gogo (73) and I arrived at Gate 8 of Charlotte Makexe hospital at 07:20 on Wednesday 2 June. Welcoming security guards greeted us and ushered us into the grounds towards the vaccination centre.
We were not expecting to be successful since we believed the hospital to be closed and under renovation following the recent fire. Instead, friendly and energetic nursing staff welcomed us. They seated us in an orderly queue that had already begun to form. Everyone was a metre a half apart and wearing a mask. I would say there was a maximum of 50 of us in the initial waiting area.
One could tell that the nurses were all fired up and ready to mass vaccinate. There was an hour and a half wait for the vaccines to be delivered, leading to much speculation and conspiracy theories which at least kept us busy. Once the vaccines arrived, the administration process began, and we were asked for our confirmation of registering on the EVDS site as well as Gogo’s ID. The lady behind us had not yet registered on the government site, but she was not turned away. She was registered there and then by the friendly staff.
Gogo was jabbed 20 minutes later in a speedy, friendly and socially distanced process. Even when dreaded loadshedding happened, the nurses continued with the vaccine administration, although we did wait a bit longer for our vaccination card.
As we left, a group of Gogo’s did a little jog together, making jokes that they were off to a party. Congratulations were shared all around. What an unexpectedly positive experience that felt more like a celebration than a medical procedure.
Thank you to everyone involved at Charlotte Maxeke.
- Claudia de Villiers, Gauteng
03 Jun 2021
What's it like to get a Covid-19 vaccine? We take you on an inside tour of a site
The Bhekisisa team takes you through the process of waiting to get your jab and all the site stops along the way from temperature checks to observations for side-effects.
02 Jun 2021
A positive experience at Chris Hani Baragwanath hospital
Four of us went on Wednesday, 26 May, for our Covid vaccine at Chris Hani Baragwanath hospital in Soweto.
There was a queue, but it was relatively quick.
Once inside marquee, we were handed cards, and our ID documents were verified for age. We also had to show our registration confirmation. We sat down, and after 15 minutes Professor Richard Cooke gave us the low down on the vaccine.
We were taken in groups of 20 into the hall foyer, seated and addressed by a nursing sister who explained what to expect next. We were then escorted to the vaccination stations in the hall.
The staff were professional and polite and extremely friendly. After the vaccine, our cards were updated and we were told to be back in 42 days for the second shot.
There were even photo booths where one could take pics with board saying we had our vaccine! All in all, it was a wonderful experience! Professor Richard Cooke was amazing as he interacted with people in queues, ensuring everyone was attended to. He and his staff were terrific—accolades to him and his caring staff.
- Patricia Wessels, Gauteng
02 Jun 2021
No vaccination site in Hermanus
I am 70-years-old and diabetic. My wife is 69-years-old. We registered on the EVDS system as early as February.
All our younger siblings in Gauteng have already received their first dose of vaccines.
In Hermanus, where we live, we are yet to see the first public vaccination centre open. The Hawston (Thusong Centre) was meant to start operating on 31 May, but we have now learnt this may only happen on 4 June. We have yet to receive a text message advising us of an appointment but do not hold out any hope.
Although old age homes in Hermanus have been catered for, we are not seeing any effort to address the rest of us. We are seeing public centres being opened all around us: Stanford, Elgin, Greyton, Caledon, etc. but absolutely nothing in Hermanus. Why? What can the logical reason be for this lack of concern and care?
- Keith E Ashen, Hermanus
02 Jun 2021
I am overwhelmed by South Africa's kindness
I am overwhelmed by the kindness, professionalism and positive experience I had last Saturday at Somerset Hospital.
It was a weekend, and all staff had volunteered their time for the day. The whole experience took 30 mins from start to finish, including the 15 minute observation time after the vaccine.
I am on an expired tourist visa and unable to leave South Africa due to the restrictions and quarantine time demands in my destination country. I cannot believe that I have been treated with the same care and compassion as South Africans, an experience I don't think is evident in many other countries at this time.
Thank you to the excellent staff.
I look forward to my second jab in 40 days.
- Bernadette Smyth, Somerset
31 May 2021
Too much congestion at Polokwane hospital
My 85-year-old mum got a text message on 21 May to go get her vaccine. Unfortunately, we're were out of town. On 24 May I took her to Polokwane hospital for her jab. The congestion I found there was scary!
From 08:30, the crowding was unbelievable, even to get parking. I had no option but to return home without her getting the vaccine. There were tents outside the hall and not enough chairs. The logistics are horrible.
- Joyce Mokoena, Polokwane