Due to our success and excellent record working with Department of Health (DoH) to vaccinate our community, the Mbhashe sub-district supported the Bulungula Health Point to formally become an accredited COVID-19 vaccination site, supplying vaccines and consumables to us. Our nurse, Sister Chuma Adonisi, was trained as a vaccinator and further mentored by Dr Tom Boyles, and our experienced staff (two administrators and two Nomakhayas) will support the administrative processes. With the supply and team in place, the Bulungula Health Point is ready to run COVID-19 vaccinations once a week, every Wednesday.
Running COVID-19 vaccinations ourselves at the Health Point is fairly complicated from a systems perspective, requiring each person to register as being vaccinated by the Bulungula Incubator, and on both the government’s pre-registration and registration systems. Furthermore, we can only vaccinate in groups of five (as we can’t open a vial of vaccine unless we will know we will use all of it), so that vaccines are not wasted.
This past Wednesday, we piloted our first independent (no onsite support from DoH) vaccination day, which unfortunately fell on a cold and wet day. Nonetheless, 31 community members showed up and were vaccinated— including 6 elderly who missed their second Pfizer dose.
One community member who came to get vaccinated at the Health Point shared with us that he came to two of our outreach days, but was impatient to get vaccinated and didn’t want to wait in the long queue. Now that we are offering regular outreach days, and are seasoned in vaccine rollout, wait time is significantly reduced, further incentivising those who are not vaccinated to come.
As our world continues to push vaccination in order to end the COVID-19 pandemic, our emergency response has been recognised as a successful model in rural South Africa. To learn more about our Emergency COVID-Response in 2021, you can read our comprehensive report here.