VIDEO: Major boost for Durban's fight against Covid as hundreds show up to get vaccinated at drive-thru site
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DURBAN - MORE than 1500 people were vaccinated at a drive-thru site set up by the Islamic Medical Association of Durban in conjunction with the Department of Health, the NMJ Islamic Centre and a team of fantastic medical and non-medical volunteers.
Over 1500 people were vaccinated with the J&J and Pfizer vaccines over the last two Sundays of August.
"The overall response from the public was excellent. The average waiting time was 20 to 30 minutes, and the convenience of not having to wait in long and crowded queues whilst in the comfort and safety of one’s car made it a huge success.
“It was a great learning and empowering experience for all the volunteers who gladly sacrificed their Sundays in the service of our community to help fight the Covid pandemic. Experiences learnt here can now be shared with other groups to allow the expansion of this ‘drive through’ experience," the Association said.
A team of 50 medical and non-medical volunteers included specialist doctors, general practitioners, nurses, pharmacists, other professionals and students.
The Association said there had been much confusion and hesitance in the community regarding vaccines.
"Throughout the pandemic, the IMA has maintained a clear stance, and we encourage all to vaccinate against Covid in order to protect themselves and their loved ones. Our social media and marketing campaigns have also been consistent in our messaging to the public," the Association stated.
Anaesthesiologist and one of the organisers of the IMA drive-thru, Dr Mohamed Raiman, said after seeing so many Covid patients in ICU succumb to the virus, there is very little that can be done once a person has severe Covid.
"Vaccination to prevent severe disease is the only strategy at present. So, as the IMA, we decided to encourage vaccination by firstly clearing up misconceptions and fears and then making it as easy as possible for people to get the vaccine at the drive-thru. In the second wave, we lost many healthcare workers and colleagues due to Covid. After the HCW vaccine rollout, we have seen how effective vaccines are in preventing severe disease. Sadly, our ICU’s are currently full with those who are unvaccinated," he said.
Ebrahim Mulla, who volunteered at the drive-thru, said he wanted to assist in the fight against Covid.
"I have personally lost close family members and want to do my part in preventing others from also losing loved ones," he said.
The IMASA extended it gratitude to everybody involved in the initiative. They are hoping to set up more drives in future.