Covid-19: Healthcare workers scramble to be vaccinated in Gauteng

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A Covid-19 vaccination being administered at the vaccination ward at Charlotte Maxeke Hospital.
A Covid-19 vaccination being administered at the vaccination ward at Charlotte Maxeke Hospital.
Deaan Vivier/Beeld/Gallo Images via Getty Images
  • Scores of healthcare workers queued outside Charlotte Maxeke and Netcare Milpark to be vaccinated. 
  • Some say they were turned away the previous day because the hospital ran out of vaccines. 
  • The deputy health minister said they expected to wrap up the vaccination of healthcare workers in two weeks. 

With the vaccination of healthcare workers expected to finish soon, nothing could stop Amanda Louw from braving a queue that snaked through several levels of a parking lot. 

Deputy Health Minister Joe Phaahla announced on Wednesday that they expected to wrap up the vaccination of healthcare workers in two weeks.

Louw was one of hundreds of people, who queued in the parking lot of Netcare Milpark Hospital in Johannesburg, which is being used as a vaccination site. 

READ | Covid-19: Move to stricter lockdown, experts warn, as third wave looms

"You have to be positive. No one is with me when I am nursing Covid-19 patients, so all the noise outside won't help me when I am sitting with a patient. I am here for my own safety and the safety of my family," said Louw. 

Louw has been a healthcare worker for over 40 years.

She was accompanied by Carin Swanepoel, a medical technologist, who had been skeptical about being vaccinated because of all the conspiracy theories. 

READ | SA-born biotech billionaire commits R3 billion to produce vaccines locally

"I am still not very sure if I should take the vaccine, but I am standing in the queue and motivating myself. I am really here for my family, to keep them safe because I don't want to contract the virus," said Swanepoel. 

"I registered long ago, and only after four weeks when the second registration came, I got a notification that I have been registered here at Milpark. The registration is easy, but the logistics are not so nice," she said. 

Meanwhile, at Charlotte Maxeke Academic Hospital, healthcare workers, some of whom had been queueing since 05:00, were not pleased with the pace of vaccination. 

When News24 visited the hospital, there were two queues - one for people who had been turned away the previous day and the other for people who had only come on Thursday.

Maria Mngomezulu said she was leaving because she was not getting any help. 

"I am leaving because I didn't get the help. They told us we couldn't get help because we have to be registered. I am registered, but I didn't get an SMS that tells me when to come," she said.

She planned to return next week after being told they would be assisted next week.

READ | Covid-19: WHO labels B.1.617 variant a 'global concern', but says vaccines do work against it

"I am not feeling good. I am not happy because I spent money coming here, and I am going to spend money again (to come back), and I might not get vaccinated," she said. 

On Wednesday, poet Lebo Mashile came under fire after sharing on social media that she was vaccinated.

She qualified because she does communications work for African Alliance, a health NGO.  

Healthcare worker Ndumi Xaba was not pleased.

"I feel bad because they told us we were going to be jabbed. First, we work and help people, but we haven't been vaccinated," she said. 

Nokwanda Gule was one of the vaccinated people, who slowly trickled out of Charlotte Maxeke on Thursday. She had spent five hours in the queue on Wednesday and another two hours on Thursday. 

"Yesterday, we were told there was no more vaccine, and they took our names, and we had to come back today. I feel good, I feel excited," she said. 

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