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Western Cape Government Takes Vaccination To Communities

“We have been working with our community partners to identify locations to offer the COVID-19 vaccines and our goal is to reach every corner of the Western Cape.

The aim of the EMS Vaxi Taxi is to serve communities and ensure that it reaches as many individuals as possible, whether it be at their workplaces and educational institutions.”

These words were said by Wayne Philander, EMS Vaxi Taxi Project Leader, on the Western Cape Government health emergency medical services (EMS) launch of a Mobile vaccination drive project launch program that took place in Cape Town on the 18th of October.

The Vaxi Taxi is initiated to bring vaccination close to disadvantaged communities, aiming to vaccinate accelerate progress in the number of people who get vaccinated in the Western Cape.

The Pop-up campaign commenced on the 4th of September 2021 and has vaccinated 2042 people, the core functions and mandate of the project and team members is to combat societal disparities and serve community members.

Each Vaxi Taxi, the mobile site consists of two ambulances (one is used as a primary vaccination section and the other as a secondary vaccination and resuscitation section), an equipped gazebo and tarpaulin (used as the observation areas) and an admin section for registrations and essential paperwork. Intricate vaccine preparation and cold chain regulations are always adhered to.

“We are honoured to work alongside the rest of our health colleagues in taking the vaccine campaign to the streets. We see this as an important opportunity to build stronger relationships with our communities and, in so doing, help keep one another safe.

I am also thrilled that we have the opportunity to team up with the Department of Education and corporate partners, and we look forward to providing more opportunities for vaccinations to communities in the Western Cape,” says Dr Shaheem De Vries, EMS Director.

Despite the Campaign’s aim of bringing vaccinations close to the disadvantaged, old citizens from small rural towns such as Plettenberg Bay will still have to walk distances to the clinic from their remote areas, as the vaxi taxi only operates in Metro Cities.

According to key factors by who The WHO Constitution (1946) envisages ‘the highest attainable standard of health as a fundamental right of every human being.’

A rights-based approach to health requires that health policy and programmes must prioritize the needs of those furthest behind first towards greater equity, a principle that has been echoed in the recently adopted 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Universal Health Coverage.

Though the vaxi taxies are not yet available to the rural towns of the Western Cape, where old citizens complain of having to walk very far in order to get to the clinics.

The Western Cape Government did acknowledge that all towns need to be treated equally and that services that are meant to make 5heir lives go easy should be brought to all.

Western Cape government then introduced red dot taxies to the health department were public transport taxies, joined forces with health in a program of transporting the public from and to health facilities during the covid-19 pandemic.

The Red Dot taxi service consists of a fleet of 135 minibus taxis and has transported a total of 8 600 passengers to vaccine sites and made over 285 900 trips in the province. It has further ensured that:

The Red dot taxis are free and kept in a private place, where they are only called to come and transport people by the department of health.

In an inclusive interview with JHR, the communications officer Nadia Ferriara said they do not only use Red Dot taxis to transport people to the vaccination site but bring services to the people, by visiting communities

”Plettenberg teams now focus on a lot of outreaches, taking the vaccine to the communities. This way they don’t need transport to a vaccination site.”

By Sphokazi Mnyobe

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