New vaccine site opens in Pinelands

Daphne Jubber giving the thumbs-up after receiving her vaccine jab from nurse Sharon Poole.

A new vaccine site has opened in Pinelands, as a third wave of Covid-19 infections hits the country.

The site, at the Old Mutual campus, was launched on Monday to vaccinate those with medical aid. It’s a joint venture between Netcare and Old Mutual, with approval from provincial government.

Premier Alan Winde said locating a dedicated vaccination site at a business premises made a lot of sense. “It’s hard to have the vaccine site by a clinic or health facility because it’s difficult when people are coming for health-care reasons then there is another long queue for vaccines.”

Netcare general manager Dr Louis van der Hoven said they had worked with Old Mutual on designing the site. “They do the administrative aspect and we provide the nursing staff with pharmaceutical components and vaccines and site coordination.”

Old Mutual CEO Iain Williamson said every new vaccination site dealt another blow against Covid-19. “Getting vaccinated is the right thing to do to protect yourself and all people you interact with.”

According to Mr Williamson, the site can administer 1400 vaccines a day, or 3000 at a stretch.

On the first day there were 10 vaccine stations, but there can be up to 38, according to Dr Van der Hoven.

Daphne Jubber, 70, of Plumstead, received her first jab of the two-dose Pfizer vaccine. “There was a lot of doubt and conspiracy theories,” she said, “but everyone must know that this is the only way that everyone will be safe from the virus – we all got to get vaccinated.”

Cindy Whitehouse, 63, of Constantia, said her jab had been painless. “I think it’s important to get the vaccine so that we can protect each other.”

Both Ms Jubber and Ms Whitehouse are scheduled to get their second jab on Monday August 2.

Netcare nurse Sharon Poole administered the jabs. “It is exciting to be part of this process,” she said. “I feel like we are making a difference, and all the clients who came for their injections are just very happy.”

Old Mutual’s director of customer experience Tags Moodley said those 60 and older who had medical aid could come to the site if they had registered on the country’s Electronic Vaccination Data System (EVDS) and selected the Old Mutual site. “If you are over 80 with no medical aid, you will not be turned away,” he added.

Mr Williamson urged everyone to register on the EVDS and heed government’s call to avoid the walk-in queues and rather wait for their appointments. However, there is a kiosk at the Old Mutual site where volunteers will help walk-ins.

Economic Opportunities and Finance MEC David Maynier said all the vaccines used at the site came from national government. “They will receive their vaccines from the portion allocated to Business for South Africa for the private sector,” he said.

According to provincial Department of Health spokesman Mark van der Heever, there are 155 active public vaccination sites and 33 active private ones in the province.

According to the provincial Health Department’s Covid-19 data as of Tuesday June 22, there have been over 347 500 vaccinations in the province. They include over 91 700 health-care workers and over 255 800 senior citizens. There have been over 310 000 Covid-19 cases in the province since the start of the pandemic, with more than 12 100 deaths. There are currently close to 12 700 active cases in the province.

Premier Alan Winde speaking at the launch of the new vaccination site in Pinelands.
Cindy Whitehouse receiving her vaccine from nurse Kurt Africa, with database staff member Daine May in the background.