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Durban Metro vows to leave no homeless person behind in Covid-19 vaccination drive


By Sinenhlanhla Zungu 1h ago

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DURBAN – THE Denis Hurley Centre, in partnership with the eThekwini Municipality, has gone the extra mile by vaccinating homeless people to ensure no one is left behind.

Raymond Perrier, director of the Denis Hurley Foundation, said a clinic for homeless people was already in operation. The centre decided to extend its hand in helping the City to vaccinate the vulnerable group.

Perrier said vaccinating homeless people also had its challenges.

“Hundreds of them showed up. There were glitches in them not having identification documents or remembering their ID numbers. We have spoken to the Department of Health for a solution,” he said.

Sbonelo Shabalala (left) homeless with Raymond Perrier director at Denis Hurley centre and sister Bongiwe Mlotshwa during the vaccination of homeless people at Denis Hurley centre in Durban. Picture: Bongani Mbatha /African News Agency (ANA)

Provincial Department of Health spokesperson Agiza Hlongwane said it was important to vaccinate street dwellers.

“If they were left out, it would defeat the purpose of vaccination. They would get infected and go on to infect others as well. Additionally, manual registrations should counter-act the issue of not having IDs for registrations,” he said.

The centre also had a class set up to educate the homeless about Covid-19 and the importance of vaccinating.

“We have adopted a system of teaching them about the pandemic and why they should vaccinate. In those classes we addressed their fears and questions so they would understand better and make decisions that will not only save their lives, but the lives of everyone they interact with,” Hlongwane said.

The eThekwini Municipality’s health unit began with the Covid-19 vaccination of homeless people in the city on Monday.

According to the Department of Health, as of August 25, in the public sector alone the number of fully vaccinated health-care workers vaccinated was 1224750.

The total number of vaccinations done were 1 725 497, at 225 active vaccination sites.