When Sr Milanie Bennett from Khayelitsha District Hospital completed her vaccinator training, she did not know that she will make history by administering the first COVID-19 vaccine in South Africa.
Not only did she vaccinate the first healthcare workers, she also vaccinated President Cyril Ramaphosa on Wednesday, 17 February 2021. “I feel very proud and honoured to have administered the first vaccine today. We made history and very proud to have been part of it.”
Sr Bennett has been a nurse for 25 years and is well aware of the important role vaccines play in combating serious diseases. “I am thankful for the vaccine and the role I play in administering it. We are now part of making history by fighting COVID-19 through the vaccine. The vaccine will save countless lives.”
She looked forward to being a part of the COVID-19 vaccine roll-out. “I prepared to be part of the vaccination roll-out by completing my vaccinator training and registering on the database to also receive the vaccine when it is my turn.”
Sr Bennett encourages her colleagues and other healthcare workers to be vaccinated. “Be vaccinated. The vaccine reduces your chances of contracting severe COVID-19.”
She says her family is also very proud of her. “My family is very proud of me and supportive of me getting the vaccine. My husband indicated that he will also take the vaccine when it is his turn. I also received a message that my teachers and the community from my hometown are very happy and proud of me.”
The COVID-19 vaccination roll-out at Khayelitsha District Hospital will start on Monday, 22 February 2021 and as a frontline worker Sr Bennett will be one of the recipients of the vaccine. As part of the first batch, 13 160 doses of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine have been allocated to the Western Cape and this allocation is for both the private and public sectors. As at 17:00 on 18 February, Western Cape Government Health have vaccinated 385 healthcare workers at Groote Schuur and Tygerberg hospitals. Several private sector frontline workers will also receive their vaccinations at these hospitals over the weekend.