Frustrated, she jumped the vaccination queue

Elize Parker, 61, was one of the first people to register for a Covid-19 vaccine in April, but after receiving a confirmation SMS from the government and Discovery Health, she did not receive any further communication. 

On 17 May she watched as thousands of fellow citizens received their jabs. “We don’t jump queues in our family. We stick to what is required so as not to upset apple carts.” 

Two weeks went by. As she grew more frustrated, Parker realised her location was not favourable to her receiving an SMS any time soon. 

Her suspicion was confirmed. She believes she is a victim of an algorithm that favoured suburbs where there are more people who are 60 years and older per square metre. 

Parker decided to take the matter into her own hands and set off in search of a vaccine. 

A press release ensured her of a vaccine at a Mediclinic in Milnerton, but she was told by the receptionists that the programme would only start the following week and that no walk-ins would be accommodated. 

Her next stop was her own medical scheme’s Century City headquarters, where an assistant with a tablet in hand met her at the door to advise her that she would receive an email. 

Informing the assistant that she had not yet received an email, another assistant phoned Parker, but hung up after Parker said that her medical aid’s “promises do not meet the reality”. 

This was the start of several hoops she had to jump through — from a Dischem in Parow, a civic building in the central business district, and a small clinic in District Six. 

Determined to be vaccinated, Parker travelled to the Karl Bremer Hospita where a security guard told her it was after 3pm, which meant the daily allocation of vaccines was finished. 

She nevertheless walked into the vaccination centre where her “Pfizer angel” came to her rescue. A shy nurse, who did not give his name when asked, persuaded the nurse in charge that Parker deserved a vaccine after checking her documents. 

A sister then announced she had one vaccine left for the day. 

Parker got her first shot of the Pfizer vaccine on 28 May. 

Her second shot is scheduled for 9 July. 

Recalling the moment, she says: “Were it not for the receptionists, the security guards, the assistants and the medical workers, this [vaccine roll-out] would never have worked.”

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Eunice Stoltz
Eunice Stoltz is a general news reporter at the Mail & Guardian.

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