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How Cape Town’s homeless people will be able to get vaccinated

Homeless Day pics taken outside Parliament.PHOTO: Tracey Adams / ANA

Homeless Day pics taken outside Parliament.PHOTO: Tracey Adams / ANA

Published Aug 4, 2021


Cape Town - Homeless people will be able to get their Covid-19 vaccinations at the Hope Exchange on Friday, following significant work from organisations and networks led by and supporting street-based people.

The Hope Exchange director, Reverend Annie Kirke, said a further eight, among them Bellville, Wynberg and the Atlantic Seaboard, were being considered and would be confirmed.

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“There have been multiple engagements with street-based people to design and plan the process,” she said.

“Several issues and challenges have been raised by those living on the street, from the lack of information about the vaccine to needing an ID or an ID number to register. As many as half of street-based people may not have an ID or many not know their ID number. The Department of Health has welcomed ideas to resolve this.”

Kirke said pamphlets addressing vaccine benefits, safety concerns and possible side effects were being produced by the department for immediate distribution.

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Strandfontein Homeless Action Committee member Carlos Mesquita said that happened while they were getting homeless people IDs for the local elections and other basic services.

“Unfortunately, the Department of Home Affairs is slow to react whereas the health MEC showed real concern when she visited us for details. She asked us to collate lists in order to get an idea of what was required.

“She has accepted our proposal of 10 areas and people will be registered on the day with their hospital/clinic patient number as most homeless people have these.

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“To avoid a second jab, which will prove difficult with the homeless, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine will be used and we are trying to arrange a safe place for those that have bad reactions from the vaccine,” he said.

Western Cape health spokesperson Mark van Heever said that to ensure equitable and fair access to Covid-19 vaccinations, undocumented clients would be accommodated and registered for vaccination using a paper-based registration form.

That would be captured on the EVDS under the "undocumented" section and all available information of the person would be added.

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“They will also be issued with vaccination cards, same as everyone else. Given their vulnerable status, undocumented clients will be prioritised for J&J vaccines according to the vaccination site’s stock availability. Our teams have identified their routes and will be going into communities, starting this week,” he said.

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Cape Argus