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The Western Cape’s last mass Covid-19 vaccination site has been closed

The site was opened on August 17 last year and was one of two mass vaccination sites. Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency(ANA)

The site was opened on August 17 last year and was one of two mass vaccination sites. Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency(ANA)

Published Mar 28, 2022

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Cape Town - The Western Cape’s last mass Covid-19 vaccination site, the Athlone Stadium Vaccination Centre of Hope, administered its last doses of Covid-19 vaccine on Saturday before closing.

The site was opened on August 17 last year and was one of two mass vaccination sites, the other being the Cape Town International Convention Centre Vaccination Centre of Hope.

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Provincial Health Department spokesperson Mark van der Heever said: “We are moving towards integrating Covid-19 vaccination into our routine health services, which means clients will be offered vaccination at all our health facilities, in addition to the outreaches and pop-up sites. But it will now be available to all at any health facility.”

Health Department Deputy General, Dr Saadiq Kariem, who received a booster dose at the site on Friday, said: “I encourage everyone to continue getting vaccinated at our health facilities and to get their boosters which is crucial to limit the impact future waves might have.”

By March 24, the province had administered 5 181 252 Covid-19 doses. About 426 000 booster doses have been administered. The provincial Health Department said 55.77% of the adult population were vaccinated with at least one dose (50.43% fully vaccinated) and 12-17-year-olds: 135 808 (21.12% ) vaccinated with at least one dose and 42 210 (6.56%) fully vaccinated).

Health MEC Nomafrench Mbombo said: “The reason for the closing of the Athlone Stadium Vaccination Site of Hope is the end of the lease agreement with the City of Cape Town.

“From August 17, 2021, we have vaccinated 80 649 people. Vaccination is the only protection we have against Covid-19. It is important for people to vaccinate in other sites.”

According to the Western Cape Government Covid-19 Dashboard, the province recorded 4 958 active cases of the virus, 668 336 confirmed cases, 641 521 recoveries as at 1pm, on Friday. Around 21 857 people have succumbed to the virus in the province.

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Belgravia Civic Association vice-secretary Haneem Smith said many people from the community were not aware that the Athlone Stadium site was closing down.

Belgravia resident Zarina Abrahams said: “It’s a big shame that the site is being taken away, especially since we are trying to make people understand that Covid-19 has now become a very manageable part of our lives.

“Understandably, the government can only pay for that much and funds run out when funds run out, but from a human aspect here, it's quite a shame that the site has been taken away.

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“The Athlone Stadium site was central and accessible to many surrounding areas. It was on the transport route and because it was drive-through, it facilitated vaccinations much easier.

“It was well organised and professionally run. More vaccinations would’ve been processed had it not moved from the site.”

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