For many HCW, the moment could not have arrived sooner, as they feel a little more safeguarded against Covid-19, while working on the frontlines.
The provincial Health Department received its first batch of 13 160 Johnson & Johnson vaccines last week, and as of 5pm on Monday have administered 3 956 vaccines.
As of 1pm on 23 February, the Western Cape has 4 269 active Covid-19 infections with a total of 274 191 confirmed Covid-19 cases and 258 839 recoveries.
Vaccinations have been taking place daily at Groote Schuur and Tygerberg Hospitals with Khayelitsha District Hospital occasionally adding to the tally.
The Department said that the vaccination programme is its largest yet and that it would continue to monitor the process and address any teething issues arising.
While waiting in line to be vaccinated at Groote Schuur Hospital, household aid HCW, Yvonne Jaftha, said although slightly nervous, she was happy to be a part of the vaccination programme.
Said Coralie Snell, a Groote Schuur Hospital HCW, who also works in the UCT clinical trials in the dialysis unit: “I’ve been waiting for it (the vaccine) up until they said we could get it. So Monday was D-Day for me. I am very pleased. Thank heavens I’m getting it, I’m grateful.
“For HCW it’s great because, besides being a prevention, it’s good for everyone to get a vaccine. I believe in it – immunity and also to protect the patients. Hopefully this will reduce the spread of Covid-19. I think it’s going to be very good.”
Soon after receiving the jab, medical officer at Mitchell’s Plain Hospital, Dr Adam Khan said, “It’s very good, I’m excited to have been vaccinated.”
On how he felt before getting vaccinated, he said: “Mostly just keen anticipation, a little bit of nerves just before, but mostly excitement.”
Groote Schuur Hospital CEO, Dr Bhavna Patel urged people to continue to adhere to non-pharmaceutical prevention measures such as hand washing, physical-distancing, and mask-wearing. “…What this vaccine does, it really only protects against severe disease and hospitalisations, it’s not going to prevent you from getting Covid-19.
“That’s an important message. There must not be this rush now in the first round for everybody; we’re trying to concentrate on the more vulnerable staff in the emergency units, trauma units, Covid-19 wards, staff who have chronic conditions or staff in the older age group.”
Groote Schuur Hospital has conducted the most vaccinations daily with 1 890 vaccinated as of Sunday, and over 400 on Monday. Tygerberg Hospital vaccinated 777 and Khayelitsha District Hospital 89 as of Sunday.
The vaccine should first defrost and then be drawn up, and must be administered within two hours, or it will expire.
HCW are urged to register on the EVDS national registration portal, after which they will be issued with a vaccination site and scheduled date for vaccination.