Deep in the Eastern Cape in a township known as Marselle, the old, the crippled and the disadvantaged came for their COVID vaccinations.
They came on foot, by wheelchair … they came on sticks and Zimmer frames … they came at the crack of dawn … they came registered and unregistered … but the most amazing thing of all was … they came in their hundreds.
By 07:30 on Wednesday 30 June, in the early morning sun and the strong coastal wind, queues of people waited in anticipation for their COVID-19 vaccinations. There was great jubilation and dances of joy when those who did not appear on the EVDS eventually got an SMS to notify them of their registration.
Everyone being vaccinated in Marselle on this day was over 60 years old and many over 80 and 90. One young and patient carer returned three times with different wheelchair-bound folk; the oldest of the day was 102!
It was a humbling experience to be part of the Coastal Kindness team of volunteers assisting the Department of Health (DOH) to set-up and run this pop-up vaccination station. With only 48 hours’ notice, it was all hands-on-deck to get the community hall functional for two days of vaccinations. There was frantic activity with cleaning to be done, repairs to be made, extension cables to be laid, WiFi connectivity to be installed and a large amount of sanitising to be accomplished. When all was said and done, and with only minor hiccups, the two days ran very smoothly.
It was a privilege to work alongside the sisters, nurses and administrators from the DOH as well as the dedicated pharmacists who so carefully managed and dispensed the vaccines from the precious vials. Every member of the DOH team working in Marselle treated their patients and colleagues with great care and respect, from the beginning of each day to the very end when exhaustion and sore feet prevailed.
Grateful thanks go to all members of Coastal Kindness, Herotel Igen for sponsoring and supplying WiFi connectivity. Kenton Rotary for keeping the workers fed and The House Kitchen for donating supplies. And again, a big “hats off” to our marvellous DOH vaccination team.