The University of Cape Town’s (UCT) Global Surgery Division has undertaken to put its weight behind and call for an uptake in vaccinations to help fight COVID-19. The call to vaccinate coincided with a symposium hosted by the division on 18 September 2021, themed, “Navigating Surgical Recovery during the COVID-19 pandemic”.
The division’s statement was undersigned by Associate Professor Salome Maswime (the head of the Global Surgery Division), Dr Tracey Adams (Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology), Dr Nisha Jacob (Department of Public Health and Family Medicine), Associate Professor Lydia Cairncross (Department of Surgery) and Dr Rowan Duys (Department of Anaesthesia and Perioperative Medicine).
Their statement follows below.
“We encourage the public to engage and to find platforms and reliable sources of information led by qualified experts.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has continued to disrupt essential healthcare and access to surgical care across the world. The pandemic has resulted in massive surgical backlogs, delays in cancer screening and increased maternal mortality in South Africa. We envision a world where everyone has access to comprehensive, quality surgical care.
In the past, through vaccines, smallpox was eradicated, polio was eliminated, and measles were controlled. We can control severe expression of the SARS-CoV-2 virus through vaccination.
We therefore support and encourage vaccinations to prevent severe COVID-19 disease and thus to decrease hospital admissions. Evidence has clearly shown that vaccinated people have less chance of hospital admissions and death.
All women are encouraged to have the vaccination during pregnancy (with informed consent). In addition, all cancer patients are also encouraged to vaccinate, ideally pre-treatment, to prevent treatment delays. We also support routine COVID-19 screening and vaccination prior to elective surgery.
Vaccination prevents hospital admissions and will free up hospital beds. Currently, elective surgical lists have been repeatedly postponed as human resources are required to care for COVID-19-positive patients.
We are looking forward to a time when a hospital surgical recovery plan can be commenced so that all have access to essential healthcare.
We encourage the public to engage and to find platforms and reliable sources of information led by qualified experts.
We support our physicians in the fight against COVID-19, and we salute every healthcare worker for their contribution.
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