The Western Cape Government launches vaccine rollout to over 60-year-olds with Emeritus Archbishop Desmond Tutu and his wife, Leah

Joint Press Statement by Desmond and Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation and Western Cape Government:

On Monday 17th May the Western Cape Government launched Phase 2 of its vaccine rollout programme, starting with a group of elderly at Brooklyn Chest Hospital in Milnerton – one of the designated provincial vaccination sites. The Emeritus Archbishop Tutu, being on record as a staunch supporter of vaccination, was part of the group of elderly citizens to receive his vaccination with Ms. Leah Tutu. He was hosted by the Premier of the Western Cape, Mr Alan Winde, the MEC for Health, Dr Nomafrench Mbombo and the Head of Health, Dr Keith Cloete.

The Premier of Western Cape, Alan Winde, said: “It was a great honour to join Emeritus Archbishop Desmond Tutu and his wife, Leah, for their vaccines at Brooklyn Chest Hospital today, marking the start of Phase 2 of our mass vaccination programme. As we rollout Phase 2, I want to remind residents, who are eligible, to register for their vaccine. I also call on those who aren’t yet eligible to play their part in assisting those who are, with registering. The time has come to fight back against COVID-19, so #LetsDoThis Western Cape.”

“We at the Tutu Foundation would like to thank Premier Alan Winde of the Western Cape, and the Western Cape government, for their organisation of today’s critical milestone in the healing of our country,” says Piyushi Kotecha, CEO of the Desmond & Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation. We’re relieved that the Arch and Mrs Tutu have now been vaccinated against Covid-19 and support the call for all eligible citizens over the age of 60 who have not yet signed up for the jab to do so urgently.”

“Vaccination is the only safe way for countries to break the chain of Covid-19 transmission that has ravaged families, societies and economies across the world. Without it, we cannot get back to normal life again. To achieve mass immunity, we need everyone to get vaccinated. If even one person is left out of access to vaccines, the whole world stays at risk,” she warns.

“We repeat our call to all South Africans to be vaccinated against Covid-19 as soon as vaccines are available to them. We also call on all our citizens to help one another negotiate the signing-up processes. Please share your access to data and your technological know-how with others in the spirit of ubuntu and service,” Kotecha says.

Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu says, “All my life I have tried to do the right thing and, today, getting vaccinated against Covid-19 is definitely the right thing to do. That’s why Leah and I took this step, to do our part to start the national healing process so we can end this pandemic. We have to do this together!”

“Believe me, when you get to our age, little needles worry you far less than bending over does.

“It was wonderful to get out of the house and meet these dedicated healthcare workers who gave us our vaccines. Leah and I signed up to be vaccinated a while ago, because we know this will help save our loved ones from worry and heartbreak, and ourselves from this terrible disease.

“To all of you on the frontlines who have been working to keep us safe for more than a year now, I salute you,” he added. “God bless all of you for your selfless service to our citizens and our country.”

As part of the next phase of vaccine delivery to the Western Cape the first allocation of 30 420 has been delivered, and will be rolled out as part of the vaccination programme. The initial seven public facing sites are: Brooklyn Chest Hospital, Helderberg Hospital, Mitchells’ Plain Hospital, Khayelitsha District Hospital, Karl Bremer Hospital, Brackenfell Clinic and Albow Gardens Clinic. However, we want to stress that if you have not received a phone call or an SMS indicating where you must go, to please do not come to a vaccination site.

MEC of Health, Dr Nomafrench Mbombo says: “Today signifies a huge milestone, vaccinating the vulnerable group which utilizes most of our health services. Getting them vaccinated means they are protected from the virus and will not be flocking our health facilities. This in turn will also protect our health system and give us a bit of normalcy.

We can re-integrate other health services, reduce the burden of illnesses, hospitalizations and deaths from Covid-19, which senior citizens contribute largely. To achieve this, we must make sure that the elderly is vaccinated and safe.

I appeal to the young people to assist in registering the elderly on EVDS.

It is our responsibility to assist them. We are not safe until we are all vaccinated.”

This initial set of vaccination sites are where a smaller number of registered residents over the age of 60 will be invited to get their vaccine. This smaller number, initially, will allow us to properly check the systems we have put in place, so that we can ensure an efficient scale up of numbers by the end of the month. This is scale-up approach is critical so that we have an orderly, dignified process and that no person – especially someone who is in a high-risk category – would experience poor service.

Because of the focus on vaccinating Old Age Homes on site this week, and our plan to bring vaccination sites online in a gradual way, the majority of people who have registered should start getting the SMSs in the next two to three weeks. This will coincide with the scale of numbers that we expect by the end of the month.

The plan is to eventually have 70 Metro and 204 Rural sites on stream, and to complete vaccinations of those 60 years and older by the end of June.

The Head of Health, Dr Keith Cloete states: “The Department will work as fast as we can to enable good access to vaccination to all our citizens, starting with the most vulnerable. I am most pleased to welcome a number of our elderly citizens at the various sites in the province today. We urge all members of the community and partners, to help us to register and vaccinate the elderly to protect them from severe illness ahead of the Third Wave of COVID-19”.The COVID-19 vaccine has been rigorously tested both locally and internationally, and provides excellent protection against serious COVID-19 illness and death. It is our best defense in the battle against the virus.

To register, please visit and click on the link, or Dial *134*832# and follow the prompts (FREE on all South African Networks), or Whatsapp the word REGISTER to 0600 123456.

If you are over 60 and registered for your COVID-19 vaccine, you can expect:

An SMS confirming your registration.
A second SMS with an appointment date and the place.
Get vaccinated with your first dose.
Proof of vaccination card.
An appointment date for your second dose.
As we move forward with phase 2, remember to:

take your ID and present second SMS, or the unique code on the scheduled day.
Arrive on the scheduled day of your booking. Not on a different day.
Walk ins are not permitted