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'We are very scared': WC doctor pleads with govt to secure COVID-19 vaccine

Dr Abhaya Karki said getting a vaccine for the country was a key step towards winning the fight against the pandemic.

A hospital worker and patient with COVID-19 in in the resuscitation room of the COVID-19 ward at Khayelitsha Hospital, about 35km from the centre of Cape Town, on 29 December 2020. Picture: AFP.

CAPE TOWN - Healthcare workers have again made a desperate plea for the public to do their part to help rein in the rapidly spreading coronavirus.

Western Cape Health authorities earlier this week said the province had officially entered the pandemic’s second wave peak.

READ: WC in ‘uncharted territory’ as oxygen use at private, public hospitals increases

Health workers are battling to cope with the massive COVID-19 caseload at medical facilities.

Eyewitness News spoke to Groote Schuur Hospital’s Dr Abhaya Karki about his experience.

“We are very scared at the rate now. I’m very scared,” he said.

From very early in the Western Cape’s COVID-19 fight, Dr Karki has been working non-stop treating sick patients.

The Family Medicine and Palliative Care doctor helped set up the Hospital of Hope at the Cape Town International Convention Centre and worked there until the field hospital was decommissioned in August.

READ: COVID-19: 844 more deaths and new record high of daily cases in SA

Karki said support from colleagues, family and friends helped him and so many other healthcare workers brace the COVID-19 storm.

“At this time, most staffers are exhausted. We will continue to provide a service until the pandemic is over because that is what we are trained for, or until we succumb to this pandemic. That is the sad reality.”

He pleaded with the public to practice COVID-19 safety measures.

“We are palliating 40-year-old, 50-year-olds either because they come in very, very sick and there is no hope, or because they can’t get intubated because there are no beds.”

Karki said getting a vaccine for the country was a key step towards winning the fight against the pandemic.

“It has been a tough year for everyone, but we cannot give up. To the government, I’d like to say ‘get the vaccine quick, you need to protect your healthcare workers and the patients who are vulnerable’.”

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