Soupertroopers, Project HOPE and the Homeless Action Committee combined their efforts to get people living on the streets of Sea Point vaccinated last week.
The NGOs were supported by the Western Cape government Health department for this once-off, one shot vaccine for homeless people as well as residents of Sea Point.
The temporary vaccination site was set up at the Methodist Church in Sea Point last Thursday.
“The biggest challenge was to convince people that it’s safe to take the vaccine, we had to educate them about the vaccine. The other challenge was finding the people, if they are not at a shelter it’s difficult to find them as they move around, but we managed to spread the word and we had a good attendance,” said Kevin Alexander, field co-ordinator for Project HOPE.
Gavin Johnson, 56, said he was scared of the actual injection but it happened so quickly that he did not realise it had been done.
“I’m happy I’ve done it. Now I have the protection against the Covid virus and it was a quick process,” he said.
“I want to prevent the spread of Covid-19. I don’t want to get it,” said Jonas Hangula, 45, who has been living on the streets since 2001.
Sea Point residents Robert, 71, and Jean Adams, 83, got married at the church in 1971 and say their children insisted that they get the vaccine.
“We live around the corner and I saw the queue here. I asked the nurses about it and explained that my wife has dementia and that we can’t travel far. They said we are welcome to come. We got married here and now we got our vaccination here as well,” he said.
Sister Yvette Andrew from the Department of Health said that although many homeless people did not have identity documents (ID), they did have the resources to assist them.
“Not all of them have ID books, but that wasn’t an obstacle. We are capturing their details manually but if they do have their ID then we can capture it electronically. This is a one-off vaccination and it’s easier to provide for the street based people as we don’t want to put the expectation on them to return,” said Sister Andrew.
“We vaccinated close to 90 people. We would have liked to vaccinate more but there’s perceptions about the vaccine that stopped a few from coming,” said Soupertroopers fieldworker Tasneem Hoosain-Fielies.
“We gave them Panados but most were doing well. Some had minor symptoms but there were no complications.”