Health department takes vaccination drive to taxi rank

To boost its vaccination numbers KZN is trying various initiatives including drive-through vaccine sites

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Photo of awnings at a taxi rank

The Department of Health in KwaZulu-Natal took its vaccination drive to the Chesterville Taxi Rank in Durban on 18 and 19 August. Photo: Nokulunga Majola

  • The KZN Health department is diversifying its vaccine strategy in an effort to boost its vaccination numbers.
  • It will be vaccinating people at churches, taxi ranks, and tribal courts.
  • On the weekend there was also a drive-through vaccination site in Durban.
  • Health MEC Nomagugu Simelane expressed concern over the high numbers of Covid-19 infections in the province.

Over 150 people were vaccinated against Covid-19 at the Chesterville Taxi Rank in Durban on Thursday and Friday in an initiative by the provincial Department of Health to vaccinate commuters and people in the taxi industry. The single dose Johnson and Johnson vaccine was used.

More than 1.8 million people have been vaccinated in KwaZulu-Natal according to a statement issued by the department on Sunday. It said in a bid to grow numbers it was diversifying its vaccination strategy “by adding drive-through vaccination sites to minimise the congestion of people as well as vaccinating people at churches, taxi ranks, and tribal courts among other places”.

Health MEC Nomagugu Simelane said the vaccines are safe and the province has enough vaccines and the personnel to administer them.

Regarding the pandemic, she said, “The truth is that things are really getting bad … In the past two weeks or so, we’ve seen an exponential growth in the number of new daily infections, which is extremely concerning.”

South African National Taxi Council (SANTACO) KZN manager Sifiso Shangase said they are very grateful for the initiative to have a vaccine site at the rank. “This is one of the things that concerns us as the taxi industry, that our taxi drivers don’t have the time [to go and get vaccinated]. We are happy and we will continue to encourage taxi drivers to vaccinate as the vaccine is our hope against Covid-19,” said Shangase.

Thembekile Mhlongo from Umlazi was vaccinated at the Chesterville taxi rank on Friday. “We were driving around running errands when I saw the vaccination site and decided to take the jab,” she said.

She said at first she was scared off by misinformation on social media about vaccines. Then her husband was vaccinated last week and he has been fine.

“I am vaccinating because I want to protect my family. I have two children, 12 and 16, and an elderly mother. It is more about protecting my loved ones than myself,” said Mhlongo.

The Islamic Medical Association (IMA), in partnership with the Department of Health, held a free Covid-19 drive-through vaccine site on Sunday at the NMJ Hall in Morningside, Durban.

IMA director Yasiera Mahomed-Suliman said both vaccines Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson were administered subject to availability. She said the aim of the drive-through vaccination site is that it maintains physical distance and makes it as easy as possible for people to be vaccinated.

The process for the drive-through vaccine was done in three steps: register details, receive the vaccine, and wait for ten minutes to see if there are any adverse effects.

Mphathi Nxumalo, from Umbilo, who received his Covid-19 jab at the drive-through on Sunday, said, “It was a good experience, and the staff were hyper efficient and I would recommend it to anyone who wants a quick and easy jab.”

“Some of the staff went to the cars and asked us to fill out forms. The experience was very interactive as there was constant communication and it made the experience feel so much quicker and efficient. They gave us the options of which jab we took and this made us feel in control.”

In an effort to broaden its vaccination reach, the eThekwini Municipality will start vaccinating people who are homeless at various sites starting Monday.

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TOPICS:  Covid-19 Health Transport

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