Tafelsig family offer their home as vaccination site

Florence Bolotina, 57, and husband, Godfrey Bolotina, 61, from Lost City, Tafelsig have become vaccine ambassadors by offering their home as a pop-up vaccination site.

The Tafelsig couple became ambassadors for vaccinations and offered their home as a pop-site.

Godfrey Bolotina, 61, and his wife Florence Bolotina, 57, from Lost City, Tafelsig are passionate about keeping their community safe and this month became vaccine ambassadors by offering their home as a pop-up vaccination site to ensure that they make the vaccines accessible to community members in the area who cannot afford to travel to their nearest vaccination site in Mitchell’s Plain.

Western Cape Government Health pop-up sites and in-residential vaccination sites have now become regular features across the province.

Health department data has shown that those over the age of 50 years and those with comorbidities are at higher risk of contracting a severe illness, being hospitalised, and dying if unvaccinated.

The Bolotina’s has offered their home as a vaccination site in Tafelsig.

Ms Bolotina, also known to her community as Sister Ndumi, suffers from multiple chronic illnesses and she was diagnosed with Covid-19 in October 2021. She was admitted to Mitchell’s Plain District Hospital’s Covid-19 ward and later transferred to the Brackengate Hospital of Hope where she went into a coma for two weeks.

After her recovery from Covid-19, both Mr and Ms Bolotina have been fully vaccinated and opened their home for their community to easily access the vaccine close to their homes.

“I have this happiness in my heart that the health staff from Klipfontein and Mitchell’s Plain are bringing the vaccination service closer to our homes and were looking for a place to set up a pop-up vaccination station, so I offered my home,” said Ms Bolotina.

“When I had Covid-19, I struggled to breathe and could not walk or even talk without gasping for breath.

“I am diabetic, hypertensive, I have asthma and a heart condition and was placed on a ventilator and went into a coma for two weeks at the Brackengate Covid-19 Hospital,” said Ms Bolotina.

Mr Bolotina said he had been afraid that his wife would not survive and feared the call from the doctors. He walks with crutches due to an injury he sustained in a vehicle accident he was involved in a few years ago and relies on Ms Bolotina to care for him.

“The two months she was in hospital was a difficult time for me and I asked God to help her, because if she had to die, then I think I would not have survived long without her,” said Mr Bolotina.

“My wife was in a Covid-19 hospital and I thought I will never see her again, because when I called the hospital, I was not allowed to visit her and she could not talk to me because she was too sick,” said Mr Bolotina.

“After two months’ stay at the Covid-19 Brackengate Hospital of Hope, I cried to go home because I missed my family.

“I want to tell the elderly people that this virus is not a joke, so get your vaccine to protect yourself. There is nothing to fear. People spread rumours to say you will get Covid-19 in the hospital and the nurses and doctors are trying to kill us which is not true,” said Ms Bolotina.

Ms Bolotina encourages the elderly who are over 50 and 60 years old to take the vaccine because they are more at risk of getting sick from Covid-19.

“The elderly are saying that they have lived their lives already, but I encourage the over 50s and 60s to take the vaccine because our loved ones still need us,” said Ms Bolotina.

“The vaccine will help your body fight Covid-19 better and prevent you from ending up sick in hospital or dying.”

The appeal remains to all those over the age of 50 years, to be vaccinated ahead of socialising with friends and family. The vaccine offers protection against becoming severely ill, needing to be hospitalised over this joyous season, and protects against possible death, said Monique Johnstone, provincial Department of Health spokesperson.

To ensure vaccines are accessible to all, the Department is making vaccinations accessible to communities with in-resident pop-up sites, Sassa pay points, shopping malls and providing awareness sessions to various community groups on request and setting up vaccination pop-up sites in local churches in the area.

Visit the Western Cape Government Health Facebook Page daily to check where the nearest pop-up vaccination site will be in your area.