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Covid-19: Elderly turned away from vaccine sites in Eastern Cape as stock runs out

A medical staff member receives the Covid-19 vaccine. (Photo by Gallo Images/Beeld/Deaan Vivier)


A medical staff member receives the Covid-19 vaccine. (Photo by Gallo Images/Beeld/Deaan Vivier)

  • Thousands of elderly people who registered for phase 2 of the vaccination rollout were turned away at vaccination centres across the Eastern Cape on Thursday as the province suddenly ran out of vaccines. 
  • The provincial health department said all the 36 vaccination centers combined finished the 16 000 doses the department received from the national department.
  • Some senior citizens who braved the wet and wintery weather conditions to stand in long queues for the vaccines expressed their disappointment. 

Thousands of elderly citizens who braved wet and wintery weather to queue for life saving Covid-19 vaccines were turned away at vaccination centres across the Eastern Cape on Thursday as the province suddenly ran out of vaccine stock. 

The Eastern Cape health department confirmed that all the 36 vaccination centers in the province had run out of vaccine doses.

The province on Monday launched phase two of the vaccination drive focusing on people over the age of 60.  

Provincial health provincial department spokesperson Sizwe Kupelo said the centers finished all the 16 000 doses the national health department allocated to the province, and that they were waiting for another delivery.

He attributed this to a successful smooth running vaccination rollout drive.

Mthuthuzeli Manisi, 63, said he was left disappointed after he was turned away at Fort Brown Community Hall outside Makhanda on Thursday.  

READ | Walk-ins won’t be allowed at vaccination sites – Eastern Cape health dept

“My boss gave me the day off to get vaccinated. I am a bit disappointed. The health workers told us that the doses are out of stock and that they will call us when the vaccine stock has arrived,” said Manisi. 

Qonce resident Mpumelelo Kumbaca, 62, said he was turned away at two hospitals in the area. 

Kumbaca said:

I was turned away at Bhisho Hospital by the security guards. They informed me to try Grey Monument Hospital but the admin clerks there also informed me that there was no more doses left and that they expect the next batch on Monday. We will have to wait. I was looking forward to get the jab.

“The vaccination is a national programme with all provinces getting supplies from the national department and the Eastern Cape was allocated 16 000 Pfizer vaccines. The rollout ran smoothly so much that by Thursday we had finished the 16 000,” Kupelo said.  

Kupelo said this stock shortage does not mean there is a glitch.

 “There is no issue there. It is a success story of the Eastern Cape where the elderly came in their numbers in response to this life saving two jabs. We are happy. The vaccination is running smoothly,” said Kupelo.    


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