MoHCC embarked on the second COVID-19 vaccination blitz from 2 to 15 May 2022, targeting those aged 12 years and above, especially school children and those leaving in hard to reach areas as well as the elderly.
A nurse at Lady Stanley Hospital, Bulilima District, Matabeleland South Province, Chelesani Maphosa narrated how they wake up early every morning and prepare for their daily schedule.
“We wake up early in the morning to prepare our breakfast and lunch so that when we get there (vaccination point) we will not waste time cooking,” said Maphosa.
She emphasised on adhering to the set timetable so that they would vaccinate a large number of people starting with schools and then move into the community.
“During this exercise, we make sure that we adhere to our timetable for schools and outreach. For schools, we do our vaccination up to 12 midday. We make sure that we go out of schools by 12 so that our communities do not wait so long because they end up leaving unvaccinated,” she said.
Maphosa said their thrust was to make visits and vaccinate those who were not able to come to vaccination centres. She added that although the vaccination exercise was characterised by a lot of pressure, they have managed to withstand it.
“There were some people that were not able to come to outreach points, we make sure that after we have finished with those who would have come at the outreach point, we will visit those who were not able to go to the outreach point. During the campaign, that is for 14 days there is more pressure, but we are withstanding the pressure, sometimes we do not have our lunch and continue doing the vaccination until we finish all those who have come for vaccination,” said Maphosa.
Maphosa narrated that at times they would have their supper as late as 9 at night, but they still wake up early in the morning the next day to catch up with the vaccination programme.
“During the exercise, we have our supper very late, but we do not go late to our outreach points the next morning,” said Maphosa.
Turning to information dissemination, she noted that information dissemination was an important part of the COVID-19 vaccination blitz in that it would direct people to the nearest vaccination centre.
“We make sure that information dissemination is made so that they (people) do not need to go to the clinic because some are hard to reach areas. We make sure that all the elderly are vaccinated that’s why we go the extra mile to visit their homesteads,” she said.
Maphosa said she has been a nurse for the past 13 years. Turning to the pressure and being far from home for a very long time she said with the vaccination blitz pressure was now manageable as they moved from centre to centre.
“Since COVID-19 started there had been more pressure because, before this campaign, we were vaccinating people at facilities till late. It’s now better for our people who want to be vaccinated against COVID-19 because it was said they must come in fours, but now it’s flexible,” said Maphosa.
The Second Phase of the COVID-19 vaccination blitz ended on 15 May 2022, which saw the total number of people who got their first COVID-19 vaccine dose reaching 6 113 527 since the vaccination started in February 2021. Those for the second dose were 4 347 729, while the booster shot stood at 741 816 people.