Bolotina couple from Tafelsig Mitchells Plain offers home for vaccinations
Western Cape Government Health pop-up sites and in-residential vaccination sites have now become regular features across the Province. Our communities asked for access to vaccination closer to them, away from fixed health sites, and we have delivered. Through working with our communities, our health teams have listened, have adjusted their strategy, and have taken vaccines into people’s homes.
The message is clear – vaccines are widely available, but we need every eligible member of the community to take up the opportunity. Our data has shown that those over the age of 50 years and those with comorbidities are at higher risk of contracting a severe illness, being hospitalised, and dying if unvaccinated.
Godfrey Bolotina (61) and his wife Florence Bolotina (57) from Lost City in Tafelsig are passionate about keeping their community safe and have become vaccine ambassadors by offering their home as a pop-up vaccination site since November 2021 to ensure that they make the vaccines accessible to community members in the area who cannot afford to travel to their nearest vaccination site in Mitchells Plain.
Florence, also known to her community as Sister Ndumi, suffers from multiple chronic illnesses and was diagnosed with COVID-19 in October 2021 and was admitted to Mitchells Plain District Hospital’s COVID-19 ward and later transferred to the Brackengate Hospital of Hope where she went into a coma for two weeks. After her recovery from COVID-19, both Florence and Godfrey are fully vaccinated and opened their home for their community to easily access the vaccine close to their homes.
“I have this happiness in my heart that the health staff from Klipfontein and Mitchells Plain are bringing the vaccination service closer to our homes and were looking for a place to set up a pop-up vaccination station, so I offered my home,” said Florence. “When I had COVID-19, I struggled to breathe and could not walk or even talk without gasping for breath. I am diabetic, hypertensive, I have asthma and a heart condition and was placed on a ventilator and went into a coma for two weeks at the Brackengate COVID-19 Hospital. The doctors and nurses took good care of me at Brackengate Hospital of Hope,” said Florence.
Godfrey was afraid Florence was not going to survive and feared the call from the doctors. He is mobile with the assistance of crutches due to a vehicle accident he was involved in a few years ago and relies on Florence to care for him. “The two months she was in hospital was a difficult time for me and I asked God to help her, because if she had to die, then I think I would not have survived long without her,” said Godfrey.
“My wife was in a COVD-19 hospital and I thought I will never see her again, because when I called the hospital, I was not allowed to visit her and she could not talk to me because she was too sick,” said Godfrey. “After two months stay at the COVID-19 Brackengate Hospital of Hope, I cried to go home because I missed my family. I want to tell the elderly people that this virus is not a joke, so get your vaccine to protect yourself. There is nothing to fear. People spread rumours to say you will get COVID-19 in the hospital and the nurses and doctors are trying to kill us which is not true,” said Florence.
Florence encourages the elderly who are over 50 and 60 years old to take the vaccine because they are more at risk of getting sick from COVID-19. “The elderly are saying that they have lived their lives already, but I encourage the over 50s and 60s to take the vaccine because our loved ones still need us,” said Florence. “The vaccine will help your body fight COVID-19 better and prevent you from ending up sick in hospital or dying,” said Florence.
Our appeal remains to all those over the age of 50 years, to be vaccinated ahead of socialising with friends and family. The vaccine offers you great protection against becoming severely ill, needing to be hospitalised over this joyous season, and protects you against possible death.
To ensure vaccines are accessible to all, the Department is making vaccinations accessible to communities with in-resident pop-up sites, SASSA pay points, shopping malls and providing awareness sessions to various community groups on request and setting up vaccination pop-up sites in local churches in the area. Visit the Western Cape Government Health Facebook Page daily to check where the nearest pop-up vaccination site will be in your area.