Cape Town - The Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) Vaccination Centre of Hope will close its doors on Friday, as fewer people have been presenting for Covid-19 vaccinations.
The CTICC Vaccination Centre of Hope was a public-private partnership between the Western Cape Government Health, the City of Cape Town, Discovery Health and the CTICC.
The venue had previously served as a world-class field hospital amid brutal Covid-19 waves, and until Friday, December 3, it has also served as the Western Cape’s first mass vaccination site.
Staff who played a pivotal role were thanked for their tremendous efforts, during a decommissioning ceremony yesterday, marking its formal closure.
Over 136 000 people received their Covid-19 dose, representing the largest number of people vaccinated at a single site in the Western Cape, Health Department Chief Operating Officer, Dr Saadiq Kariem said.
The site started seeing a decline in people presenting for Covid-19 vaccination a few months ago.
“As a result of that decline, we obviously had to make the decision to decommission this facility and what we’ve done is begun pivoting our strategy towards mobile and outreach vaccination,” Dr Kariem said.
The decline comes as the province’s reaches just over 49% of the eligible population vaccinated with at least one dose.
Dr Kariem said all vaccination sites, between 190-200 sites, across the province were seeing fewer people getting vaccinated.
“So unfortunately, there’s still some vaccine hesitancy in the communities. There are still people who don't believe that the vaccine is effective and that’s why our message to those people is the vaccine is safe, it is effective and come and get vaccinated.”
CTICC Vaccination Centre of Hope Site Manager, Leatitia Saville said: “We started off with being the first mass vaccination site in the Western Cape, but we soon realised we are not going to get the numbers and the targets that we are intending to vaccinate and we had to strategise and plan to see how we could get more people through the door.
“So very quickly we moved from being a fixed vaccine site to including outreaches.”
CTICC General Manager Tracy Mkhize said 96% of CTICC staff were vaccinated because of the site.
“Speaking from the hospitality industry, it was encouraging to know that we had people that were employed here as volunteers from the hospitality industry that lost their jobs at the time, and that brought hope.
“It was not just for people to get vaccinated, but brought hope to people who lost their jobs and that can really be appreciated.”
Health Department Head Dr Keith Cloete said: “The difference in the first wave and the second wave is, when we started going into the third wave, the one big difference was vaccination.
“Vaccination has changed a story of despair and anxiety around Covid-19 to a story of hope and normality returning. That is the power of the vaccines.”