Healthcare workers vaccinated

Nurse Magdalena Swartbooi administers the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine to her fellow nurse Nandipha Mneno.

More than 250 health care workers have been vaccinated at Mitchell’s Plain District Hospital, an approved vaccination site for healthcare workers who have registered on the Electronic Vaccine Data System (EVDS) as part of the phase 1 Johnson & Johnson Sisonke vaccination study.

On Wednesday March 17 health care workers from non-profit organisations, City of Cape Town clinic staff and provincial healthcare workers were voluntarily vaccinated, said Monique Johnstone, communications officer, Department of Health, Klipfontein and Mitchell’s Plain sub-structure.

Before making their decision, healthcare workers were taken through the process and counselled about the vaccine.

Ms Johnstone added that, with all systems in place at Mitchell’s Plain District Hospital, the provincial health department’s Klipfontein and Mitchell’s Plain sub-structure was fully equipped to vaccinate more healthcare workers over the next few weeks.

Once registered on the EVDS system, healthcare workers complete documentation giving their consent to be vaccinated and educated on possible side effects of the vaccine. After vaccination, staff are placed under observation for 15 minutes by medical officers and nurses and released to resume duty thereafter.

Nomtha Bell-Mandla, the deputy director for support services for the Klipfontein and Mitchell’s Plain sub-structure and the project manager for the rollout of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in the sub-structure, said healthcare workers were excited to be vaccinated. “There have been no serious events reported after being vaccinated. Some reported being fluish, feverish, redness on arm after the vaccination shot,” she said.

Administrator for the Covid-19 vaccine at the hospital, Keana Van Heerden said she had not taken the vaccine yet as she thinks she does not need it yet. “It is very interesting to see people take the vaccine but I am happy to be helping others,” she said.

Nurse Magdalena Swartbooi, who counsels the healthcare workers before they are vaccinated, said she took had been nervous before getting her shot.

So, she decided to educate herself by reading up on the vaccine before being vaccinated. “The skepticism in time will go away. I decided to do this to keep myself and those around me safe,” she said.

Nurse Nandipha Mneno, 39, who has comorbidities, said she took the vaccine to be safe. “We shouldn’t be thinking about conspiracy theories. We must do this to be safe and healthy. They did not take much of our time to give us the vaccine.

Nurse Nozipho Mguya, left, vaccinates Dr Chris Valentine who is based at the Mitchell’s Plain Hospital of Hope.

Dr Chris Valentine, who is based at Mitchell’s Plain Hospital of Hope, said he was excited about the vaccine. “I felt more at ease when I got it. I must be safe. I decided to take the vaccine of my own choice,” he said.

Nurse Maureen Smith, 64, at Mitchell’s Plain Hospital was the first staff member to be vaccinated at the Mitchell’s Plain District Hospital.

Maureen Smith, 64, a nurse at Mitchell’s Plain Hospital was the first staff member to be vaccinated at the hospital and was excited to finally get the added protection from Covid-19.

“I have taken the vaccine because I have a few comorbidities and I want to protect myself against Covid-19,” said Ms Smith.

“Even though I am vaccinated for Covid-19, I have to continue adhering to the Covid-19 protocols by wearing my mask, washing my hands and social distancing from people,” she added.

Doctor Katherine Gill, is part of the the Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation team of researchers tasked with distributing the vaccine and rolling out the phase 1 Johnson & Johnson Sisonke vaccination study vaccine.

Doctor Katherine Gill, from Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation whose researchers are assisting with the vaccine distribution and rollout of the phase 1 Johnson & Johnson Sisonke vaccination study vaccine, said Mitchell’s Plain was the fourth site for vaccination and the first in Mitchell’s Plain.

Phase 1 has been running according to plan, said Dr Gill.

“Healthcare workers do not work from home. Covid-19 has really hit them hard. We are working really hard to have all healthcare workers receive the vaccine in time,” she said.

“The private sectors would need to get involved in helping the vaccine get out to as many healthcare workers as possible.”

The vaccination roll-out for the rest of the community is yet to be discussed, with the next target group being essential workers and the elderly, she said.