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Concerns about over 60’s scrambling for the Covid-19 vaccine

Concerns have been raised about whether some people have been jumping the Covid-19 vaccination queue and given preference because of their race. Photographer Ayanda Ndamane African News Agency (ANA)

Concerns have been raised about whether some people have been jumping the Covid-19 vaccination queue and given preference because of their race. Photographer Ayanda Ndamane African News Agency (ANA)

Published May 23, 2021

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Concerns have been raised about whether some people have been jumping the Covid-19 vaccination queue and given preference because of their race. Photographer Ayanda Ndamane African News Agency (ANA)

Concerns have been raised about whether some people have been jumping the Covid-19 vaccination queue and given preference because of their race.

As the vaccine rollout for people over 60 gets under way concerns have been raised that people were jumping the queue, specifically, white people were driving to Mitchell’s Plain where the vaccination site was set up in the Main Hall at the Lentegeur Hospital.

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One elderly Mitchells Plain resident commented that she had never seen so many white people in Mitchells Plain before, as they queued for their vaccine shot.

But the provincial authorities have maintained that they have assisted people fairly and gone out of their way to help all the elderly.

Communications Officer for Western Cape Government Health, Monique Johnstone, said: “When people register they have a choice of where they want to go, we cannot tell them where to go.” She added: “We do accept walk-in’s (at the Lentegeur vaccination site). Then and there are people who haven’t received their vouchers and we are also assisting them. They must be eligible and show us proof that they registered, and the SMS that they received confirming.”

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The elderly are meant to register online, and only after receiving a confirmation SMS and voucher, proceed to the vaccination centre at a date and time that has been allocated to them.

Johnstone made it clear that they do also assist the elderly to register to receive the vaccine. She said: “Our queues go quick. With regards to the walk-ins ... we will assist them if they are eligible but after we have seen to those that have registered and have proof of registration and if we have sufficient vaccines left for the day.”

Concerns have been raised about whether some people have been jumping the Covid-19 vaccination queue and given preference because of their race. Photographer Ayanda Ndamane African News Agency (ANA)

A Pinelands woman who registered her 78-year-old mother for the vaccine said she was shocked when her mom was not helped at two retail store pharmacies.

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The woman who wanted to remain anonymous explained that her mom had yet to receive the voucher for her vaccination but had since learnt this week that a private pharmacy would assist her.

She said: “The stores that I went to, all of the people in the queue were all the same race, all white people waiting in the queue and in the observation area. How can it be that this is a random selection and issuing of vouchers? But when you arrive there, you see only one race?”

The woman claimed that her mom was turned away but other people who also didn’t have registration vouchers were assisted.

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Western Cape Premier Alan Winde said they were investigating complaints of people jumping the queue. Winde added that the provincial government was working hard to make the distribution of vaccines fair and equitable.

“The Western Cape Government is aware of incidents where residents have attended vaccination sites, both public and private, to receive their vaccines without the necessary requirements such as being over 60-years old, having registered on the Electronic Vaccine Data System, or having received their voucher/second SMS. We are investigating related reports.”

There were 1374 new Covid-19 infections recorded in the province this week, 786 people were hospitalised, 179 are in high care, 37 people died.

The Western Cape government confirmed that 6646 people were given the vaccine in Cape Town this week and that this figure included healthcare workers and the elderly.

At last count on Friday, the Western Cape Department of Health confirmed that 5918 elderly persons had received the vaccine.

The rollout of Covid-19 vaccines will also begin in other cities and towns across the Western Cape and from tomorrow will be administered at Beaufort West Hospital in the Central Karoo District, Harry Comay Hospital in George, TC Newman CDC in Paarl, Worcester CDC, Caledon Hospital in the Overberg District and the Swartland Hospital in Malmesbury.

Winde said: “There have been no delays or logistical issues with the rollout outside of Cape Town. We are taking a scale up approach to rolling out vaccine sites. The outreach teams will start visiting old age homes in these areas from Monday, 24 May to administer vaccines, with 6 additional ‘rural sites’ coming online on Monday alone.”

Related Topics:

Vaccine

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