Closure of Athlone Vaccination Centre of Hope Drive-through
The closure of the Athlone Vaccination Centre of Hope Drive-through on Saturday 26 March 2022 brought mixed emotions of joy, sadness, and nostalgia to the Provincial Health team who managed the first drive-through vaccination service in the province since it officially opened on 3 September 2022.
The five-lane drive-through consisted of fifty-one staff from nurses, administrative clerks, pharmacy staff, emergency services and general workers. The Drive-through had ten vaccination stations including EVDS registration set up which accommodated all modes of transport from vehicles, taxis, work vans, motorcycles, bicycles, mini-vans with family bubbles to horse and cart.
The mass vaccination site was a contractual agreement between the City of Cape Town and the Western Cape Government which has come to an end and remained open for a specific period to accommodate the broader Athlone community and surrounding areas.
“Saturday 26 March 2022 marked another important milestone in the Western Cape Government Health’s vaccination programme as we officially closed the Athlone Vaccination Centre of Hope. I would like to thank the staff of the Athlone site, the role the City of Cape Town colleagues played in assisting in getting the mass site operational and all staff in the province for their dedication to ensuring that our citizens are vaccinated to protect them against COVID-19,” says Dr Saadiq Kariem, Deputy General, Western Cape Government Health.
“Since the opening of the Athlone Vaccination Centre of Hope Walk-through on 17 August 2021 and then the Drive-through on 3 September 2022, a total of 80 649 people were vaccinated at both the Walk-through and Drive-through combined,” says Dr Kariem.
The Department opened the facility to vaccinate as many people who live and travel within proximity of the site as it created easy access to vaccines along one of the busiest travel routes in the Cape Metro and was opened to administer 2000 vaccinations per day. Due to the popularity of the Drive-through, people from other areas in the metro travelled to access the fast and efficient service.
“The Drive-through was the first of its kind and magnitude in the Western Cape and the Department made history in the metro and the Cape Flats with this significant project to accommodate many communities within proximity at the historical Athlone Stadium in the comfort of their vehicles,” said Fatima Peters, site manager at the Athlone Vaccination Centre of Hope.
The Athlone Stadium mass vaccination site was no longer maintaining the envisioned vaccination results as the Department has made vaccinations accessible to all communities by creating pop-up vaccination sites in residential areas and to homeless clients, home vaccinations to bedridden clients, taking the vaccine to work environments, and schools, vaccinating at SASSA pay points, and shopping malls and centres including the Vaxi Taxi services which are being utilized in many other residential areas in the metro. The vaccination services have been integrated into healthcare facilities for ease of access and can be accessed at all community day centres and 24-hour health centres in the Klipfointein and Mitchells Plain area. There are fixed vaccination sites in communities and social mobilizing teams encouraging and educating people in residential areas to get vaccinated.
“I received my booster vaccine at the Drive-through on Friday 25 March and was number 80 019. I encourage all citizens 12 years and older, especially the youth and our vulnerable clients to access their nearest healthcare facility for their vaccines and booster doses to lessen the impact of the fifth COVID-19 wave and to get our economy back on track,” says Dr Kariem.