Limpopo healthcare workers from private, public hospitals and practices have started receiving the COVID-19 vaccine at the only two centers in the province, the Polokwane and Mankweng hospitals.
The vaccination program was launched on Friday by Health MEC Dr Phophi Ramathuba who was the first to be vaccinated.
Health workers in Limpopo receive Johnson and Johnson vaccine:
Thirty-eight health workers have died of COVID-19 related complications in the province.
This is Day 2 of the vaccination program in the province.
Dr Ramathuba interacted with healthcare workers, including doctors and nurses, waiting to get the injection.
The province was given 7 160 Johnson & Johnson vaccines.
One of the healthcare workers in the queue was the Head of the Clinical Unit Neurosurgery Department Dr Lazarus Nkuna.
Dr Nkuna says, “We can’t wait. We have seen enough. We have lost friends, relatives, professionals. We have seen death. It has come to hit us personally now. So, I can’t wait to have the vaccine. I can’t wait because we have come to realise that death is for sure and if there anything we can do just to prevent death this is the thing that we have to do now, we have to vaccinate.”
A nursing sister from Netcare Phuluso Hospital in Polokwane, Murendi Nemurunwa, is one of health workers from private facilities who are being vaccinated at the Pietersburg government hospital.
“I feel very happy and grateful for our department that organised this for us. They thought about us the frontline healthcare workers, so that at least we are being vaccinated so that the time when we come across the patients who are positive we are protected. So, we are protected. So, we are thankful. For those who are still not sure I encourage them to be vaccinated to be protected because if you are not protected you are going to add to the statistics. So, I don’t want to add to the statistics, I rather die with something else.”
Nehawu Provincial Secretary, Jacob Adams has encouraged health workers to come out in large numbers to vaccinate against COVID-19. He is one of the health workers who got vaccinated.
“We are here also to be vaccinated and we want to encourage all our members, all workers around the province and all members of society to also register on the health portal so that they can be vaccinated. And we think it’s the right thing to do as workers, as members of the society, as leadership in various portfolios.”
MEC Ramathuba says the vaccination is meant to protect healthcare workers against the anticipated third wave of the coronavirus.
She has urged healthcare workers to come and vaccinate.
“We have the head of surgery Prof is here. He has just been vaccinated; head of neuro surgery Doctor Nkuna is here, he has just been vaccinated, and many other doctors. We have matrons; we have heads of theatres. They are here. They are being vaccinated and nothing is happening to them. So, you can’t afford as a healthcare worker not to be vaccinated. You have to be vaccinated, because we know what this virus does if it causes illness to you. But if you are vaccinated, you are protected from getting severely ill. You are also protected from hospitalisation but also, we preserve your life. We are not going to lose you. We have lost so many people. It’s enough. As the country, we have lost 663 health workers. As the province, we lost 38 healthcare workers, we will never be able to replace them.”
Health workers from far-flung areas can also apply to be vaccinated in the Polokwane and Mankweng hospitals for now.