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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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 regularly with the latest COVID-19 information. Please note that the information on this page is subject to change depending on current lockdown regulations.
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.
The University of Cape Town in partnership with the Western Cape Government (WCG) have reinforced our commitment to bringing hope to the residents of the Mother City with the launch of the world‑class Community of Hope Vaccination Centre that opened its doors on Monday, 30 August 2021.
The site is located on Main Road in Mowbray – in the Forest Hill Residence – and access is from Broad Street. The site is open every Monday to Friday from 08:00 to 15:00 and on Saturday from 09:00 to 13:00. Please allow time for attending to COVID-19 protocols and arrive as early as possible at the vaccination centre.
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In an email to the UCT community, Vice-Chancellor Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng said:
“COVID-19, caused by the virus SARS-CoV-2, is a rapidly changing epidemic. [...] Information [...] will be updated as and when new information becomes available.”
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.