UCT, Western Cape Government to launch Community of Hope Vaccination Centre

27 August 2021 | Story Niémah Davids. Photos Je’nine May. Read time 3 min.
The UCT Community of Hope Vaccination Centre will soon open its doors to the public.

The University of Cape Town’s (UCT) Forest Hill residence was recently a hive of activity as the first steps towards building the on‑campus UCT Community of Hope Vaccination Centre were set in motion. Construction workers were hard at work on the residence’s lawns, setting up a giant steel frame in preparation for the 800 m2 marquee which will serve as the vaccination centre.

Plans to establish the centre form part of a joint initiative between UCT and the Western Cape Department of Health (DoH). Having a vaccination centre on campus means that eligible UCT staff and students will be able to receive their vaccinations easily. However, use of the site is not limited to the campus community; the doors are also open for anyone who meets government’s vaccination‑eligibility criteria.

While UCT has provided the physical facility for the site (located on Main Road in Mowbray), the centre will be managed exclusively by the DoH. The department will also provide the daily vaccine doses, as well as staffing solutions (medical, administrative, cleaning and security) to manage the site.

Nearing completion

Both Carin Brown, UCT lead architect responsible for design and layout of the vaccination centre, and Lukhanyo Binqela, the UCT COVID‑19 vaccination facility infrastructure project manager, have been instrumental in designing and managing the project since inception. Binqela said phase one of the project had kicked off on Monday, 12 July 2021, after students concluded their exams. And with the help of UCT’s Properties and Services department (P&S), the Department of Student Affairs and an independent contractor, the project is now nearing completion.

Lukhanyo Binqela
Lukhanyo Binqela says the vaccination centre has been mapped out with Forest Hill residents in mind.

Once completed, Binqela said, the centre will boast 12 vaccination stations and five patient check‑in points. Entrance and exit points will be strategically located at the tail-end of the residence, and a limited number of parking bays will also be made available in exceptional cases. Provision is also being made for wheelchair users and visually impaired visitors.

The site plan was mapped out with Forest Hill residents in mind, so as not to disturb or disadvantage them while vaccinations are under way. Day‑to‑day operations at the residence will also continue as normal.

Paying it forward

UCT Vice‑Chancellor Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng said the university provided the grounds on which to erect the centre as a means of giving back to the local community.

Professor Phakeng said the vaccination centre demonstrates three things: first, that UCT belongs to the wider Cape Town community; second, that it requires a collective effort to reduce the threat and spread of COVID‑19 at community level; and third, that this is yet another tangible project highlighting UCT’s commitment to being socially responsive.

Construction workers
Construction workers set up the steel frame in preparation for the 800 m2 marquee.

She commended the UCT Joint Implementation Team, led by Emeritus Associate Professor David Coetzee and his team members – Kirshni Naidoo, the director of Occupational Health and Safety Division within P&S; Dr Tracey Naledi, the deputy dean of Health Services in the Faculty of Health Sciences; and Dr Reno Morar, UCT’s chief operating officer – for their hard work in getting the project off the ground.

Dr Keith Cloete, head of the DoH, said the UCT Community of Hope Vaccination Centre project once again highlighted the department’s “philosophy of partnership”. Throughout the pandemic, the DoH has partnered with various sectors, including higher education institutions.

“Working together with partners enables us to do so much more, reach so many more people with the ultimate goal in mind: to ensure we reach maximum uptake among our communities.

“With the over-18s now also eligible to be vaccinated, the timing is perfect, and this site is ideally situated to be accessible to the students, similarly at the other universities where we have vaccination sites,” said Dr Cloete.

He thanked his DoH colleagues and the UCT team for bringing this initiative to life “as it will only put us in good stead over the next few months, as we move towards vaccinating as many people as possible”. This, he said, will in turn lead to a reduced impact on the health system as there will be fewer people requiring hospitalisation due to COVID‑19 infection.

The centre should be completed and operating by 1 September 2021.

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UCT’s response to COVID-19

COVID-19 is a global pandemic that caused President Cyril Ramaphosa to declare a national disaster in South Africa on 15 March 2020 and to implement a national lockdown from 26 March 2020. UCT is taking the threat of infection in our university community extremely seriously, and this page will be updated with the latest COVID-19 information. Please note that the information on this page is subject to change depending on current lockdown regulations.

Minister of Health, Dr Joe Phaahla, has in June 2022 repealed some of South Africa’s remaining COVID-19 regulations: namely, sections 16A, 16B and 16C of the Regulations Relating to the Surveillance and the Control of Notifiable Medical Conditions under the National Health Act. We are now no longer required to wear masks or limit gatherings. Venue restrictions and checks for travellers coming into South Africa have now also been removed.

In July 2022, the University of Cape Town (UCT) revised its approach to managing the COVID-19 pandemic on UCT campuses in 2022.
Read the latest document available on the UCT policies web page.


Campus communications


Adjusting to our new environment 16:50, 23 June 2022
VC Open Lecture and other updates 17:04, 13 April 2022
Feedback from UCT Council meeting of 12 March 2022 09:45, 18 March 2022
Chair of Council
March 2022 graduation celebration 16:45, 8 March 2022
Report on the meeting of UCT Council of 21 February 2022 19:30, 21 February 2022
Chair of Council
COVID-19 management 2022 11:55, 14 February 2022
Return to campus arrangements 2022 11:15, 4 February 2022

UCT Community of Hope Vaccination Centre

On Wednesday, 20 July, staff from the University of Cape Town’s (UCT) Faculty of Health Sciences came together with representatives from the Western Cape Government at the UCT Community of Hope Vaccination Centre at Forest Hill Residence to acknowledge the centre’s significance in the fight against COVID-19 and to thank its staff for their contributions. The centre opened on 1 September 2021 with the aim of providing quality vaccination services to UCT staff, students and the nearby communities, as well as to create an opportunity for medical students from the Faculty of Health Sciences to gain practical public health skills. The vaccination centre ceased operations on Friday, 29 July 2022.

With the closure of the UCT Community of Hope Vaccination Centre, if you still require access to a COVID-19 vaccination site please visit the CovidComms SA website to find an alternative.


“After almost a year of operation, the University of Cape Town’s (UCT) Community of Hope Vaccination Centre, located at the Forest Hill residence complex in Mowbray, will close on Friday, 29 July 2022. I am extremely grateful and proud of all staff, students and everyone involved in this important project.”
– Vice-Chancellor Prof Mamokgethi Phakeng

With the closure of the UCT Community of Hope Vaccination Centre, if you still require access to a COVID-19 vaccination site please visit the CovidComms SA website to find an alternative.

Thank You UCT Community

Frequently asked questions


Global Citizen Asks: Are COVID-19 Vaccines Safe & Effective?

UCT’s Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine (IDM) collaborated with Global Citizen, speaking to trusted experts to dispel vaccine misinformation.

If you have further questions about the COVID-19 vaccine check out the FAQ produced by the Desmond Tutu Health Foundation (DTHF). The DTHF has developed a dedicated chat function where you can ask your vaccine-related questions on the bottom right hand corner of the website.

IDM YouTube channel | IDM website


“As a contact university, we look forward to readjusting our undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in 2023 as the COVID-19 regulations have been repealed.”
– Prof Harsha Kathard, Acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Teaching and Learning

We are continuing to monitor the situation and we will be updating the UCT community regularly – as and when there are further updates. If you are concerned or need more information, students can contact the Student Wellness Service on 021 650 5620 or 021 650 1271 (after hours), while staff can contact 021 650 5685.