WATCH | Covid-19: Taxi drivers get the jab at Cape Town vaccination pop-up site

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  • Taxi drivers are the latest group earmarked as part of the Western Cape's vaccine rollout programme.
  • A pop-up vaccination drive took place at the Cape Town Station Deck transport interchange on Monday.
  • As frontline workers, taxi drivers face a higher risk of Covid-19 infection.

Taxi drivers have become the latest focus of the Western Cape's Covid-19 vaccine rollout plan, with a pop-up vaccination site at one of Cape Town's busiest transport interchanges.

The provincial health department set up a pop-up vaccination site at the Cape Town Station Deck in the CBD on Monday.

This facility accommodates thousands of commuters from areas across the city as they disembark or catch minibus taxis. The aim was to vaccinate taxi drivers, commuters and vendors in the area who have served on the frontline throughout the pandemic.

Western Cape Health MEC Nomafrench Mbombo said it was encouraging to see the demand for vaccines among those in the transport sector and those who use public transport.

"These are the people who find it difficult to go to vaccination sites due to their working hours. I was encouraged by the number of men who came for their vaccines, and we made sure to give them [the Johnson & Johnson single-dose vaccine] so they won't have to come again. It is critical for people to know that getting vaccinated decreases the risk of hospitalisation and possible death, hence I call on the eligible people of the Western Cape to present themselves to vaccination [sites]," she said.

READ | Western Cape taxi drivers bolster vaccination numbers through free transport service

City of Cape Town Mayoral Committee Member for Transport Rob Quintas said taxi drivers had a higher risk of Covid-19 infection.

"[They] also pose a risk as carriers, and therefore having these 'frontline' persons vaccinated is in the interest of Cape Town commuters," he said.

He said: 

We couldn't have picked a better place, where pedestrians, minibus taxi operators and drivers, passengers, line marshals and informal vendors and workers were able to take advantage of this opportunity to get themselves vaccinated.

Taxi drivers in the province have played an essential role in supporting the vaccination programme, with drivers participating in the Western Cape government's Blue Dot taxi service, providing people with transport to vaccination sites, especially in rural parts of the province.

In just over two months, the service had completed more than 5 200 trips.

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