‘I'm not a lab rat’ – Group stages anti-vax protest outside Groote Schuur Hosp

Authorities are on high alert as dozens of protesters took to the Groote Schuur Hospital on Saturday, staging an anti-COVID vaccination demonstration.

FILE: Groote Schuur Hospital in the Western Cape. Picture: Kevin Brandt/Eyewitness News.

CAPE TOWN – As South Africa records over 78,000 COVID-19 deaths so far, in Cape Town dozens of protesters took to the Groote Schuur Hospital on Saturday, staging an anti-COVID vaccination demonstration.

This comes just a day after the country launched the final phase of its inoculation drive, allowing all over 18s to get the jab.

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Some of the demonstrators’ placards read "I'm not a lab rat" and "Keep calm and don't vac".

The health department's Marika Champion said authorities were on high alert.

“Our security has been working with Saps to ensure the safety of our staff and clients. Vaccination remains voluntary, and the provincial government has not changed its stance on this. Vaccines are safe and highly effective in preventing severe COVID-19 illness. Doctors are already noting the positive impact that vaccines are having.”

Authorities have called on all those who are eligible to get the jab and help save lives.

“We encourage all residents to get their information from trusted, reliable sources. If they are unsure, please speak to the local clinic or hospital to get more information about the vaccine. We encourage all residents over the ages of 18 to please get their vaccine as soon as possible so we can all save lives.”

Over 53,000 vaccine doses were administered at sites across the province on Friday, reaching a new daily record.
There were several sites administering vaccinations over the weekend.

The City of Cape Town has encouraged residents in the area to report non-compliance to COVID safety regulations to the local police.

Meanwhile, Health Minister Joe Phaahla said he's satisfied with the measures that western cape health authorities have put in place to navigate the province through its COVID-19 3rd wave.

Phaahla met with provincial officials on Friday and was briefed on the administration's pandemic response plan.

“I have no doubt there is absolute commitment from the Western Cape government to work with us in making sure that we can defeat the COVID-19 pandemic. They gave me a very extensive report in terms of how they are dealing with it and lessons learned. They have made different adjustments which have made the province to be able to cope.”

The minister visited a vaccination site at Grand West Casino where factory workers receive their jabs.

Provincial health bosses said early indicators show the daily coronavirus cases are on the decline.

Head of health Dr Keith Cloete stresses the benefits of getting a coronavirus inoculation.

“We have an ideal opportunity to protect the ones that are vulnerable. You must remember, we have got a lot of emails from people from the ages 18 to 34 that have comorbidities. This is the opportunity for everyone to be protected.”

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