Maverick Citizen

Vaccine Newsflash

Western Cape allows limited walk-ins – but you won’t be guaranteed a Covid jab

Ïn Overstrand and Theewaterskloof in the Overberg, residents of old age homes were excited to receive their vaccines. For 87-year-old Ian Pansegrouw, the first person over 60 to be vaccinated in the Overberg on Tuesday, 25 May, it was an honour. “I took the vaccine because it is my duty as a South African citizen to protect myself and the people around me. I look forward to seeing my children and the rest of my family again and to feel protected while doing so,” he says. (Photo: Western Cape Government)

The province has seen a ‘large number’ of walk-ins during the first eight days of its vaccine roll-out. Now, it is officially allowing a limited number of walk-ins at vaccination sites. However, this doesn’t guarantee a jab – it depends on how many are available and if a vaccinator is free.

The Western Cape will allow walk-ins at its vaccination sites; however, those with appointments will be prioritised, according to the head of the province’s department of health, Dr Keith Cloete.

Cloete was speaking during Premier Alan Winde’s weekly digital conference on 27 May to provide an update on the province’s Covid-19 vaccine roll-out.

Those who have received an SMS stating when and where they will be vaccinated will be given priority on that day at the vaccination sites, said Cloete. They would all be processed first and thereafter walk-ins would be seen to.

However, it is not guaranteed that someone who has arrived without an appointment will receive a jab that day – it all depends on how many doses are available and if vaccinators are available to administer it, he explained.

The province is planning a major increase in vaccination sites in all districts. As more sites become active, so will more appointment slots become available. As a result, more SMSes will be sent to registered people. The province is planning to soon start alerting people with one week’s notice so they have ample time to plan their trip.

The province has seen a “large number” of walk-ins in the eight days of the roll-out. This is despite public messaging that they will not be accommodated, said Cloete. Nevertheless, “we need to find a balance between scheduled clients and walk-ins to keep waiting times to a minimum”.

There would be separate queues for those who had registered and those who had not. In addition, some sites would have facilities to assist people to register.

Cloete and Winde encouraged residents to register, which will guarantee they get their dose and will ease congestion at the site. This will help the system to run more smoothly and quickly and will help lower the risk of spreading Covid-19.

There are marshals at each site enforcing physical distancing, mask wearing and sanitising protocols, added Cloete.

This is especially important as the province has seen a resurgence in Covid-19 cases over the past two weeks. Cloete said there is not yet an exponential increase in cases and that behaviour is the single most important factor in keeping the third wave at bay. 

This is to protect lives and to ensure healthcare workers do not have to endure the enormous pressure of handling Covid-19 cases, vaccinations and routine duties at the same time. DM/MC

This story will be updated with more details overnight.

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