Rand Aid’s smooth Covid-19 vaccination roll-out

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South Africa’s Phase Two of its Covid-19 vaccination programme, targeting people over the age of 60, commenced on 17 May.

Ahead of the roll-out of Phase Two, Rand Aid Association – which runs various independent living retirement villages, frail care centres and a substance abuse treatment centre for men – assisted its residents to register for their vaccine and setup various Covid-19 vaccination stations, in line with regulations from the Department of Health.

Rand Aid was one of the first two retirement organisations in the area to receive its supply of Covid-19 vaccines from the Department of Health. 

As such, Rand Aid’s roll-out of Phase Two of the vaccination programme also commenced on 17 May at Ron Smith Care Centre and Elphin Lodge retirement village, with 144 residents being vaccinated that day despite a delay in receiving the vaccines.

Rand Aid was visited by various dignitaries on its first roll-out day, including Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi, representatives from the Gauteng Premier’s office and representatives from the Department of Health. Gloria Serobe, the chairperson of the President Cyril Ramaphosa’s Solidarity Fund, was also directed to Rand Aid for vaccination.

On 18 May, a further 150 residents from Rand Aid’s Elphin Lodge and Thornhill Manor were vaccinated, with the balance of Thornhill Manor’s 280 residents vaccinated within two days.

On 21 May, 228 Rand Aid’s Tarentaal residents received their vaccine, followed by 138 residents from Tarentaal and Inyoni Creek on 22 May.

“To date, 1 086 Rand Aid residents have received their first Covid-19 vaccine,” says Zabeth Zühlsdorff, Rand Aid’s general manager of service and the advance division.

“Following the roll-out of vaccines, we have been inundated with positive comments from a number of our residents, which we truly appreciate,” she adds.

What Rand Aid’s residents had to say

Thornhill Manor residents, Janet and Bob Davies, said: “We would just like to say a very big thank you to Rand Aid for the tremendous organisation involved with the administration of the Covid-19 vaccines. It was very efficient and well run and congratulations for everyone’s hard work in bringing this difficult task so smoothly together.”

“We really do want to congratulate you and the entire Rand Aid team on your balanced and effective response to the entire Covid-19 pandemic, and especially for the incredibly effective roll-out of the vaccination plan. Even when there seems to have been tardy delivery of vaccines, you sorted it out and recovered immediately and everyone remained pleasant. Everyone we have spoken to has been completely gobsmacked. We are aware just how challenging things like this can be in a people-centred organisation, yet Rand Aid has not only risen to the challenges, but gone far beyond what would be expected and excelled yourselves. A very big congratulatory accolade to all the staff, management and the entire Rand Aid family. With our love and thanks,” said John and Jen Cruickshank from Thornhill Manor.

“Just a few words to congratulate you and the whole Rand Aid Association staff complement for the wonderful effort put into rolling out the Covid-19 vaccinations last week. Ann and I were ‘processed’ on Wednesday and our fears of a long wait were unfounded. The whole operation worked with military precision presided over by competent, capable people who showed a depth of concern and empathy, laced with a healthy dash of good humour, that gained everyone’s trust and saw them comfortably and happily through what could have otherwise been an ordeal,” said Robbie Vermont from Thornhill Manor.

“Congratulations to the team on a really well organised vaccine roll-out! It was super-efficient and great to see Tarentaal’s residents lending a hand – really well done to all involved,” said Peter and Shirley from Inyoni Creek retirement village.

Liebe Meyer from Elphin Lodge said: “On Tuesday 18 May, the Covid-19 vaccine was given to me by Debbie Beech (computer); Tammy Neilson from Tarentaal (computer); and sister Jana Bezuidenhout, who gave me the jab – I never felt a thing! Each and every person involved – from the entrance to the exit – was so meticulous and friendly. The atmosphere and friendliness was superb. There are insufficient words to describe the positive vibes from the amazing staff. Our circle of units were all so impressed! Well done and highest compliments to everyone. And the cupcake at the exit was the cherry on the top!”

Elphin Lodge resident Vera Oosthuizen (87) wrote a beautiful poem to Rand Aid’s employees to thank them for everything they have done for residents during Covid-19, including the arranging of their recent Covid-19 vaccinations. Her poem has been posted on Rand Aid’s website for all to read.

On Rand Aid’s Facebook page, Tarentaal resident Allan Neilson said: “Fantastic job you’re all doing, well done!” Jennifer Brownson added a comment to the same post: “It was a very professional and well organised process at Elphin Lodge. Well done.”

Elphin Lodge retirement village resident Maureen Waddington (100) received her Covid-19 vaccination from Elphin Lodge village sister Catherine Dube on 18 May. Maureen, who lives independently in the village with a part-time carer, was happy and positive during the vaccination process, and eager to receive her vaccination.

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