Call for Cape elderly to wait for appointment SMS before going to vaccination site
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Cape Town – The Western Cape Department of Health has called on residents to wait for their appointment SMS – which includes the date and place – before going to a vaccination site.
The provincial health department made the plea today, calling for co-operation and that residents follow the scheduling system as they want to ensure an efficient, Covid-19-safe environment at the sites by avoiding long queues and crowds.
“We also want to ensure that our senior citizens experience a good service at these sites.
“At this stage, in line with the above, we have asked our local teams managing sites to stick to this sequencing approach across the province, allowing for some on-site flexibility due to operational circumstances.
“These include practical issues at vaccination sites, where we must accommodate a small, limited number of walk-ins,” the department said.
“We urge the public to help us with this request, so that we avoid congestion and the disappointment of you travelling to a site that won’t have a vaccine for you at this stage.
“We are also continuously working with the national government to improve the registration and scheduling system, so that this can be as well-run as possible.”
Last week the Western Cape Health MEC, Dr Nomafrench Mbombo, said that the delay in appointment SMSes was due to the delayed arrival of Johnson & Johnson vaccines – a result of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval system.
“In the first and second week of the roll-out we’d have done a lot of the people left over from Phase 1B so that we get a lot more spaces for the over-60s, which will (pick up) in the third week when we get the J&J vaccines.”
Dr Keith Cloete, provincial head of the health department, also said the SMSes for the vaccinations were initially set up by the national team, which led to people who have been scheduled to getting appointments at vaccination sites far away from where they live.
This also lead to a miscalculation in the number of people going to a particular vaccination site.
Dr Cloete said that as of Wednesday, May 19, the provincial government had been in charge of the scheduling the vaccines administering and they were targeting a three-day notice period.
“We want to now slowly get into the habit of saying, ’we’re going to tell you in three days time at which site you need to go’.
“Ultimately, we want to have a week’s lead time that everybody in about two to three weeks time, gets an SMS a week ahead of time with a scheduling date.”