Health-care workers get Covid jab at Groote Schuur

Groote Schuur’s head of the critical care unit, Professor Ivan Joubert, left, gets a Covid-19 vaccine from Professor John Joska, the head of the hospital’s clinical unit.

Groote Schuur Hospital’s Covid-19 vaccine site is giving hope to front-line health-care workers since the first vaccine was administered on Wednesday February 17.

From Wednesday February 17 to Monday February 22, 2621 vaccines were administered at Groote Schuur, 1216 at Tygerberg Hospital and 119 at Khayelitsha District Hospital, according to the provincial Department of Health, and more health-care workers are getting the jab daily.

Professor Ivan Joubert, head of Groote Schuur’s critical care unit, became the first front-line worker at the hospital, on Wednesday February 17, to receive the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine. His shot was administered by Professor John Joska, head of the hospital’s clinical unit.

Professor Joubert said he was grateful for the vaccination, especially when he thought about the very many sick patients he and his colleagues had seen in the hospital’s Covid-19 wards in recent months.

“I am definitely relieved, for myself, my family, my colleagues, and people at risk, and I am also proud of how medical science has gotten to this point because vaccines save lives,” he said.

Groote Schuur nurse Melody Camelo also received her vaccine last week. She said she wanted to be part of the herd immunity that would protect herself, her family, her colleagues and the community from being infected or transmitting Covid-19.

“‘I have witnessed patients struggling to breathe, being on oxygen and having no energy to do the simplest of tasks,” she said.

Groote Schuur nurse Melody Camelo receives the vaccine from Dr Ashley Arakkal.

Nurse Heather Munro, from Valkenberg Psychiatric Hospital, and Dr Chantal Stewart, from Mowbray Maternity Hospital have also had vaccines.

“I have confidence in our health system and the vaccine rolled out by my colleagues and so should everyone else,” said Sister Munro.

Sister Heather Munro, from Valkenberg Psychiatric Hospital, received her vaccine.

Dr Stewart vaccines had previously eliminated epidemics such as polio and smallpox. “I believe this is the first step in getting the world back to ‘normal’, and I am glad that I have been given the opportunity to feel a little safer,” she said. She encouraged the public to take the vaccine when the opportunity arose. “It will save lives,” she said.

Professor Joska said it was critical that accurate facts about the Covid-19 vaccines were circulated widely so people could make informed decisions. “Speak to people who know or have had the vaccine, think about other ways that you have benefited from medical science and try not to be selective by ruling out taking a vaccine,” he said.

Health-care workers can #UniteToVaccinateWC by registering to be vaccinated on the electronic vaccine data system (EVDS) at https://vaccine.enroll.health.gov.za/#/