On Thursday morning 3 June, the Piet Retief Provincial Hospital entered an exciting new phase in their fight against the coronavirus pandemic and started vaccinating their management and staff.
To start the vaccination process, the managers, doctors and nurses had to register online. At the hospital, they had to fill out a questionnaire about themselves, after which a nurse checked their vitals to ensure that they were ready to receive the vaccine.
Their names were then logged into a system and they sat down to be injected with the first dose of the Pfizer-vaccination in their left arm by a qualified nurse. For most who were vaccinated, they said that it did not hurt but, it felt a bit uncomfortable. After they received the vaccine, they waited for 15 minutes and their vitals were checked again to ensure that the vaccine did not affect them in any way. The second dose of the vaccine will be administered 42 two days after the first.
Matron Sphiwe Ngcobo, the head nurse at the hospital, was the first to be vaccinated. She said that it was her duty to set the example for her staff and motivate them to follow suit as soon as possible as this will protect them against the virus and they will be able to continue serving the community in the future. After the vaccine, Matron Ngcobo herself did not experience any side effects and her post-injection vitals looked normal.
At the moment, vaccines are only available for health care workers and people over the age of 60. The hospital staff are assisting people to register for the injection in front of Shoprite, Boxer Superstores and even the Post Office. There are also vaccination stations at the Amsterdam and Iswepe Clinics.
Phase one of the country’s vaccine rollout programme began on 17 February and more than 270 000 health care workers have already been injected. It is concerning to realise that the Department of Health took almost four months to reach Mkhondo and deliver the first dose of the much needed vaccine. Are small towns just an afterthought for them?
It is good to know that the residents of Mkhondo are finally able to be vaccinated. Rather late than never.