Two weeks after opening the Athlone Vaccination Centre of Hope, the site will receive its first drive-through clients on 2 September via a test-run and then officially open to the public on Friday, 3 September.
The drive-through service is unique to the site as it is the only vaccination site in the province to offer such ease of access. Residents will now be able to get vaccinated, without leaving their car, without leaving their bubble, while continuing to remain safe.
The drive-through section at the Athlone Vaccination Centre of Hope will offer five lanes to motorists. In two weeks since opening its doors on 16 August, the site has already administered 9722 vaccinations and with this unique addition aims to be able to vaccinate 4000 people per day.
The site is ideally situated to enable public transport access, and will see the Western Cape Government, City of Cape Town and local public transport operators work together to ensure we get as many people as possible vaccinated – ensuring we have maximum protection against a possible fourth wave which is predicted to hit at the end of the year.
In showcasing the ease of access to the site, Premier Alan Winde, along with 20 cyclists, cycled to the site. On arrival, they were met by 11 motorists in vehicles also waiting to be vaccinated.
Premier Winde said: “The measure of success for our vaccine programme will be in its ability to reach those who are most vulnerable, living in remote areas, and who may otherwise have accessibility issues. Ensuring that each resident has the opportunity to be vaccinated in a safe and conveniently located setting is the cornerstone of our vaccination programme, which we committed to when launching. We must ensure that no person is left behind.”
Premier Winde continued: “I cycled from Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital to Athlone to demonstrate first-hand the accessibility that comes from having a drive-through vaccination site. I want to thank all involved, including the Provincial Department of Health and the City of Cape Town, who have made the drive-through site a reality.”
“The City of Cape Town is pleased to partner with the Western Cape Government to avail this site for mass vaccinations. It is important to emphasize that when the majority of the public are vaccinated, we are likely to see a sustained relaxing in national lockdown regulations, allowing life and the economy to return to relative normality. Please get vaccinated for your loved ones, as they have gone through this difficult period with you and want to be able to safely spend quality time with their family, friends and other who mean so much to them,” said Executive Mayor, Dan Plato.
Dr Nomafrench Mbombo, Western Cape Minister of Health, said: “The Athlone Vaccination Site of Hope’s drive-through is a creative initiative, that is safe and convenient. It will guarantee that we vaccinate many people and assist in ensuring that we do not have a fatal fourth wave should it come. I am convinced that this will also attract young people who do not want to be queuing in the chairs to use this facility for their vaccinations.”
“COVID has taught us many lessons and we have learnt from these lessons and improved our responses to the pandemic. This drive-through is one of these lessons where we have listened to what our community wants and delivered a drive-through site. Our plea now is for all eligible adults who are not vaccinated yet to take up this quick and easy service to get vaccinated and thus be protected against becoming very ill, needing to be hospitalized or even death,” said Dr Saadiq Kariem, Chief of Operations at the Western Cape Department of Health.
Through the provincial vaccination campaign, the Department has administered more than 2 million vaccinations already – ensuring 858,812 people are fully vaccinated and 617,923 are getting ready for their second dose (as of 1 September). We cannot leave anyone behind, which is why we have localized our approaches to what works for each and every community’s needs.
From the start, the priority was always to protect the most vulnerable, our elderly population. As at 1 September we have been able to vaccinate 64.8% of our over 60s and 47.4% of those over the age of 50. We want to reach all of them, as our data shows they are at a higher risk to getting severely ill and dying of COVID-19. We therefore urge all residents, especially in these age bands, to walk-in to their nearest site as soon as possible.
“We have lost more than 18 300 of our family members and friends – let us not lose anymore. These vaccines will allow us to show our love for each other by protecting one another. These vaccines will enable us to have a Christmas, New Year, celebrate each other’s achievements. It will also allow us to save our summer, and the many jobs created during this time. But we can only do this if we have maximum protection within communities. And the vaccine offers it,” concluded Premier Alan Winde.